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YouTube star Hank Green reveals Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis in new video

The co-founder of VidCon has more than 3.5m YouTube subscribers

Amber Raiken
New York
Friday 19 May 2023 22:24 BST
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Related: How Hank Green Built an Internet Empire

YouTube star Hank Green has revealed that he’s been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer that impacts the immune system.

Green, who is the brother of author John Green, shared a vlog to his YouTube account, vlogbrothers, on Friday titled: “So, I’ve got cancer.” In the clip, he said he received the cancer diagnosis after his doctor initially noticed that his “lymph nodes were big” and sent him to get an ultrasound.

“And [the doctors] were like: ‘This looks like it could be suspicious for lymphoma and we’ll get you in for a biopsy,’” he recalled.

He then assured his fans that, although he was diagnosed with a form of lymphoma, he has one of the “most treatable cancers”.

“Good news, bad news,” he explained. “One, it’s cancer. It’s called lymphoma. It’s a cancer of the lymphatic system. And good news is something called Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It’s...like one of the most treatable cancers. It responds very well to treatment. The goal is cure. The procedure to get there is fairly well known, if unpleasant.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a type of cancer that affects the lymphatic system, which is part of the body’s germ-fighting immune system”.

In his video, Green said that it “seems likely” that his cancer was caught early and that he’ll be starting a “system of chemotherapies very soon”.

Green went on to candidly detail how his cancer will impact his YouTube channel and how often he shares videos. According to Green, although he feels fine now, he knows that may change once he starts treatment for the disease.

“So basically that means, what am I going to make? I don’t know,” he said. “Playing it by ear. I know that I’m going to feel like garbage. Like, it’s going to be really unpleasant. Chemo is intentionally poisoning your body, so that the super hungry cells get poisoned more and die. And that’s how it works, and it works well.”

Later in the video, Green also admitted he’s worried about his fans viewing him differently as a result of his diagnosis.

“I’m wrestling with the reality that this is now part of how people are going to imagine me,” he said. “It’s like it’s an identity that I’m having thrust upon me, which happens to people all the time. And is totally a thing that I will get over.”

Although he said that this concern is likely to go away, he still made it clear to his viewers that he doesn’t want to be defined by his cancer.

“I do just kind of want to say it out loud that like I want to be like fun, goofy science guy. Not like struggling with anxiety, cancer guy,” he said with a laugh. “And, you know, you can be both. And so I think I just have to let that go.”

Following the announcement of his cancer diagnosis, it was revealed that Hank would not be going this year’s VidCon, which is the annual convention he founded for content creators and brands.

“Due to his recent diagnosis, Hank will no longer be able to attend VidCon Anaheim 2023 next month,” VidCon’s Instagram account wrote in the caption of a post. “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.”

In addition to his YouTube video, Hank also shared a tweet poking fun at his health condition: “SEND ME PELICANS IM GETTING CHEMO,” he wrote. He later followed up with: “No man has ever received this many pelicans. #blessed. Out of chemo now and sleeping!”

Following the YouTuber’s health update, fans have responded with messages of support.

“So sorry to hear this Hank!! Sending you so much healing energy,” one person wrote, while another added: “Hey just wanna say, you got this! Sending good energy for you to get through this quick and easy.”

A third added: “You have a lot of people who appreciate you and know you will be well when this is over. If anyone can increase the awesome here, it’s you. We just need to give you time and space. Praying and pulling for you.”

On Friday morning, John Green also shared the news of his brother’s cancer diagnosis along with a heartfelt tribute. “Some important news from Hank,” he tweeted along with a link to the joint YouTube account. “My little brother is my closest collaborator, oldest friend, and my absolute hero. Thank you for loving him as I do, and supporting us - and each other - in a tough time.”

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