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Author and YouTuber Hank Green reveals cancer diagnosis

Veteran YouTuber and best-selling author Hank Green has announced that he has Hodgkin’s lymphoma. 

“It seems likely that we caught mine early. I’m still waiting on a scan to sort of confirm that,” Green said in a YouTube video uploaded Friday. In the video description, he wrote his first treatment began “literally as this video goes live.”

He recalled how he was diagnosed in a mostly upbeat 13-minute video titled “So I’ve got cancer,” posted to vlogbrothers, the YouTube channel he shares with his brother, novelist John Green. 

He said it all began when he noticed his lymph nodes were swollen and his doctor sent him to get an ultrasound. 

“The tech in the ultrasound room was like, ‘I’m going to go get a doctor,'” he recounted. “That’s not what you want to have happen.”

Hodgkin’s lymphoma affects the lymphatic system, part of the body’s germ-fighting immune system, according to the Mayo Clinic. In Hodgkin’s lymphoma, white blood cells called lymphocytes grow out of control, causing swollen lymph nodes and growths throughout the body.

He said that over the course of a few weeks, “this has become more and more real,” but it’s one of more treatable cancers. He said one of his friends had Hodgkin’s and went through treatment and remission. They are now 10 years post-diagnosis. 

“It’s been really nice to have that in my back pocket,” he said. “For texting and being like, is this normal? And, am I panicking? And, please tell me I’m gonna be ok.”

“I said, you know, ‘This is the best time, so far in human history, to get lymphoma’ — which is a very Hank Green thought,” Green said, motioning to his brother offscreen. “And then you gave me a very John Green thought — and you said, “Well, a year from now would’ve been better.'” 

He also added that while his diagnosis might impact his work going forward, he would try to send the occasional email update. 

“I’m playing it by ear,” Green said. “I know I’m going to feel like garbage, like it’s going to be really unpleasant.”

“Knowing me, I’m going to still find joy in creating and communicating with people if I can,” he added. “And the easiest, lowest-lift way of doing that is probably going to be writing something down and putting it in a newsletter.”

But he had one more thing to ask of the  fans. 

“If you can give me ideas for movies and TV shows and video games that are not heavy at all. Like, no emotion,” he said. “So really dumb things that will not make you cry — could not make anyone cry.”

His brother wrote in a pinned comment: “Reply with some good movie and media recommendations here. NO BUMMERS.”

The Green brothers are also founders of VidCon, an annual event featuring digital creators and their fans. The event was acquired by then-Viacom, now Paramount Global, the parent company of CBS News.

Hank Green was slated to attend VidCon in Anaheim next month, but after his announcement, the convention released a statement on Instagram. 

“Due to his recent diagnosis, Hank will no longer be able to attend VidCon Anaheim 2023 next month,” the Instagram post reads. “To our Co-Founder, go-to science guy, and only person on the internet who seems to understand where all the candle wax goes: we’re sending all the love from the VidCon community & beyond.”



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