Danny Paisley diagnosed with throat cancer

Sad news to report about a beloved bluegrass artist. Danny Paisley has been diagnosed with oropharyngeal cancer. He is scheduled to begin treatment shortly.

Speaking earlier today with his son Ryan, we learned a bit more about Danny’s situation.

“After persistent illness and a round of tests, doctors have diagnosed a cancer in his throat.

This type of cancer is HPV related. Men dad’s age get it. But fortunately, it has very little spread, and grows very slowly. The cancer they found is very small.

They caught it early, and he will have to go through chemo and radiation, but there is a 90% likelihood of a complete recovery.”

Things started not long ago with a sore throat.

“Dad’s tonsils were inflamed, and the ENT docs tried antibiotics, which helped. One doctor suggested he go to Philadelphia to see an ENT who specializes in this sort of thing. He did a biopsy which came back as cancer.

It was shocking news, but Dad says, ‘This is highly treatable, and I know I will come through this.'”

Danny will begin chemo and radiation therapy at the beginning of June. His doctors had said that he may be able to play shows close to home in the early stages of treatment, but most performances by Danny Paisley & The Southern Grass will be postponed until the fall. Anyone who has experienced this sort of therapy, or has been through it with a loved one, knows how debilitating it can be, with its combination of fatigue, nausea, and general sense of malaise.

But if you know Danny, you recognize that he is as positive and good natured a person as you could ever meet. And at 63 years old, he has plenty of strength to undergo treatment.

“Dad has a good attitude about this. As anyone would be in his position, he is resolved to get through this. The doctors told him that life will be on hold for the next few months, but by late fall you should be back to normal.

It was difficult to hear it, but between the kindness of the bluegrass people and the care team Dad has, it has been a huge comfort. They are highly trained in this type of cancer.”

Danny has posted this statement on his Facebook page:

Dear Friends, 

In recent weeks, doctors at the University of Pennsylvania diagnosed me with throat cancer, which a biopsy has since confirmed. The good news is that we have caught it early, and I have well over a 90% chance of being cured. After careful consideration and consultation with my doctors on the different options I have for treatment, I have elected to pursue a course of radiation and chemotherapy. This seems to be the most effective route that negates many long-term side effects.

I will begin treatment on June 1st, and my care team has given me the green light to keep performing some on the weekends early on, when the side effects are minimal. However, they have made clear that during the course, my overall touring will be limited, and I will not feel up to playing in the latter weeks of the process, as well as a few that follow the end of treatment.

Therefore, I regrettably announce that we will be rescheduling some of our appearances. We have notified the promoters of all these venues, and we thank them for their kindness and understanding. I appreciate your thoughtful wishes and prayers, and we will keep you updated as things progress. We look forward to getting back on the road full-time and seeing all of you again very soon!

They will play this weekend and the next in Maryland, but have postponed their sets at Graves Mountain at the end of the month.

We all wish Danny the very best as he undergoes treatment, and can’t wait to see him again in the fall. He isn’t giving a likely return date, as it depends on how he feels once the chemo is over.

Get well soon Danny Paisley!

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.