Add Tom Brokaw to the growing number of public celebrities embracing medical marijuana. Long an American symbol of stalwart and at times fussy newsmen, Brokaw is in remission from multiple myeloma (a cancer that grows in bone marrow). However, the pain sustained in his bones from the cancer has turned Brokaw to medical marijuana.
“I’m now on medical marijuana for my back, for the first time,” Brokaw told SurvivorNet, a cancer information site. “I’ve not done that before.”
Brokaw admits that he’s no less ambitious a journalist and currently working on a book about Richard Nixon. “Politics keep me distracted from cancer,” he says. But when he’s not working on that, trying to acquire medical marijuana in Florida, where he resides, is “complicated” and almost a full-time job in itself.
In coming out as a marijuana advocate, Brokaw engenders himself to a growing number of cancer patients using medical marijuana in treatment. According to SurvivorNet’s CEO Steve Alperin, more people are trying to learn more about medical marijuana and having someone like Brokaw open up about his experience will “help people understand there are alternative approaches to pain management.”
That said, Brokaw says he’s “keenly aware” how fortunate his cancer battle has been. When he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma back in August 2013, he was immediately medevacked to the Mayo Clinic with a room already available for him. He went through years of treatment—including chemotherapy and spinal operations—but all that cost tons of money.
“An extraordinary amount of progress has been made with drugs and treatment. We haven’t gotten the cost thing worked out yet,” he told SurvivorNetOpens a New Window.. “At one point, I counted up the price and it was something like $10,000 a day, you know, that I was spending on drugs. I have the blessing of having a great program through first RCA, then GE, and now Comcast. So the checks that I write for pharmacy are very, very small. And it makes — every time I do that, it makes me aware of the people who are not in the same position that I am, and how I think about them.”