Popular ESPN anchor and commentator Stuart Scott was a courageous, inspirational person who died last Sunday after a long battle with a rare form of appendiceal cancer. For seven years, Mr. Scott lived a full and active life inspiring others with his example and with his stirring words when he received the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at last year’s ESPYs.
Mr. Scott was private about the details of the particular type of appendiceal cancer he had and most media stories about his battle have respected that privacy over the past few years. There have, however, been some recent reports and social media posts that have alluded to “carcinoid” in talking about his disease, leading to speculation that he suffered from neuroendocrine tumors (NETs).
After consulting with some of our leading experts about NETs and appendiceal cancer, it is easy to see where some of the confusion and speculation can arise:
- While appendiceal carcinoids, a type of neuroendocrine tumor, are a common form of appendiceal cancer, there are other even more rare and very aggressive forms.
- Goblet cell carcinoids, also known as adenocarcinoid or mixed adeno-neuroendocrine carcinoma (MANEC), also often arise in the appendix. Although the word “carcinoid” appears in this type of appendiceal cancer, they are not carcinoids or neuroendocrine tumors, which leads to further confusion.
- There is a huge difference between appendiceal carcinoid and goblet cell carcinoid of the appendix. The latter tend to behave aggressively and more like an adenocarcinoma and are treated as such.
We may never know what ultimately took Stuart Scott’s life, but we can cherish his memory and contributions to furthering the understanding of rare cancers and inspiring those living with rare cancers.