Stanley Tucci Recalls How ‘Terrified’ He Was Following Oral Cancer Diagnosis in 2017; Describes Treatment as ‘Brutal’ and ‘Awful’

In an interview with Willie Geist on TODAY’s Sunday Sitdown, Stanley Tucci detailed how ‘terrified’ and ‘shocked’ he was to learn of his oral cancer diagnosis in 2017. He had struggled with excruciating pain in his jaw for nearly two years before doctors found a tumor on his tongue – after several scans missed it. 

While doctors couldn’t do surgery due to the size of the tumor, Tucci was lucky it didn’t metastasize and started to see improvement after undergoing 35 days of radiation therapy and seven chemotherapy sessions. He’s now cancer-free and healthy, but it wasn’t easy for the actor, filmmaker, and food lover. 

It wasn’t his first run-in with cancer, either. He was forced to witness his first wife, Kathryn Spath, succumb to breast cancer in 2009 at the age of 47 – an experience that, in a way, helped prepare him for his own battle with cancer. Still, it didn’t ease the anxiety and terror that ensued following his diagnosis. 

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“My late wife and I, we traveled all over the world trying to find a cure for her. So when I got it, I was completely shocked. I was terrified, absolutely terrified,” Stanley Tucci said in his interview with Willie Geist. At the same time, he remained grateful that the cancer hadn’t spread to other parts of his body. 

And while the treatments ultimately left him cancer-free, he ended up losing 35 pounds in the process and couldn’t eat or taste properly for several years – which wasn’t an easy thing to overcome for a food lover such as himself. In fact, it wasn’t until after his treatment ended that he regained his ability to eat properly.

“I couldn’t eat. I had a feeding tube for six months and everything tasted like you know what and smelled like you know what. And it took months and months and months for me to finally be able to eat again and then taste properly again,” he said on Sunday Sitdown – adding that the treatment left him very ‘afraid.’ 

He got through it, though, and he credits his wife, Felicity, and sister-in-law, Emily Blunt (Felicity’s younger sister), for staying by his side throughout the diagnosis and treatment. “I was so afraid. But Felicity was very insistent. She was incredible. Still is incredible,” he said of his support system. 

Stanley Tucci Now Has Several Projects in the Works

Stanley Tucci is enjoying his newfound life following his oral cancer diagnosis and is keeping himself busy with new projects as he continues to entertain audiences around the world. He most recently starred in a new science fiction action thriller, Citadel, which premiered on Amazon Prime Video on April 28, 2023. 

Not only that, but Tucci is appearing in a 2024 science fiction adventure film called The Electric State, which stars Chris Pratt, Millie Bobby Brown, Ke Huy Quan, and Jason Alexander, and is appearing in an upcoming thriller film called Conclave, which is based on a novel of the same name by Robert Harris.

Of course, he also has his food and travel program called Searching For Italy, which chronicles his travels around Italy as he discovers some of the finest cuisines in the region. It’s a project he has grown to admire as audiences grow more captivated by his discoveries – so much so that he’s going to continue the show. 

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“It makes them so happy. People all the time on the street everywhere I go, they’re, like, ‘I can’t tell you how much I loved that. And we’re in Italy because of you. We got married in Italy because of you,'” he said of the show. With so much to look forward to, you could say Stanley Tucci is one grateful man!

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