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Former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, who joined Boston University in February as codirector of the University’s new Initiative on Cities (IoC), has been diagnosed with an advanced form of cancer that has spread to his liver and lymph nodes, according to the Boston Globe. The newspaper reports that the origin of the cancer, discovered in early February by his primary care physician, is unknown. Doctors treating the 71-year-old former mayor say surgery is not an option. Menino (Hon.’01) has already begun a chemotherapy regimen, which calls for three more chemo sessions over the next six weeks.
President Robert A. Brown says he is very saddened to learn of the cancer diagnosis. “I know that I speak for the entire Boston University family in my support of Professor Menino and his family during his fight with this dreaded disease,” says Brown. “I know he will take on this challenge with the optimism and steadfast resolution with which he has approached all of the challenges he has overcome in his wonderful career.”
Menino, who was famous for his 16-hour nonstop workdays during two decades as mayor of Boston, reportedly feels no discomfort, and remains extremely active. The Globe reports that he delivered a speech at the independent, nonpartisan Council on Foreign Relations in New York after his diagnosis, as well as another at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire, and that he visited Red Sox spring training in Florida last week. Next week, according to the Globe, he is scheduled to speak in Rochester, N.Y., and in early April he will travel to New Orleans.
As codirector of BU’s Initiative on Cities, Menino is looking forward to pondering long-term solutions to the kind of urban challenges he knows well, from finance, infrastructure, and health care to education and environmental sustainability. He also holds regular office hours and sits down to coffee with BU’s 25 Menino Scholars every Friday. The IoC, which is affiliated with BU’s Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future, kicks off on Monday, March 24, with a conference titled Leading Cities Through Crisis: Lessons from the Boston Marathon. Menino says he plans to be there to welcome panelists.
His cancer is reportedly unrelated to a spate of medical problems that has plagued him in recent years. In 2012, he spent several weeks in the hospital for a respiratory infection and a compression fracture. He has been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, and last May he underwent surgery for an enlarged prostate. Doctors say his recent cancer diagnosis is unrelated to two previous bouts with cancer.
In his interview with the Globe, conducted late last week in his office at One Silber Way, Menino was upbeat and determined. “My attitude is, we’ll get through it,” he told reporters. “We got through the illnesses in 2012; we’ll get through this.”