General Hospital star John J. York was diagnosed with two forms of cancer last year and recently updated fans on his condition following treatment, which included a blood stem cell transplant, according to People.
In December 2022, York, 65, was diagnosed with a blood cancer known as a myelodysplastic syndrome and the bone marrow cancer smoldering multiple myeloma. Last year, the soap opera veteran underwent three bone marrow biopsies and multiple rounds of chemotherapy while awaiting a donor for a blood stem cell transplant.
Merry Christmas????????????…Happy New Year???? pic.twitter.com/uryTYGYt4R— John J York (@JohnJYork) December 22, 2023
“I have a long road ahead, but the test results are looking good; I’m feeling really good,” York said brightly in a video posted to social media platform X. “Hopefully, hopefully, if things go the way they are, maybe [I’ll] be back on the show late spring, early summer.”
Myelodysplastic syndromes are a group of cancers in which new blood cells in the bone marrow do not mature or become healthy blood cells, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Smoldering multiple myeloma is a precancerous condition that can lead to the development of multiple myeloma, a rare blood cancer that affects white blood cells, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Blood cancers, which also include leukemia and lymphoma, are easier to treat than many other types of cancer that form solid tumors, and they can sometimes be put into long-term remission, according to Cancer Health’s Basics on Blood Cancer. Treatment for blood cancers varies according to the type, how much the cancer has spread and the patient’s age and previous treatment history.
Since stem cells can develop into many different kinds of cells, a stem cell transplant is one treatment option. During the procedure, a patient’s cancerous blood cells are destroyed using radiation or chemotherapy and replaced with either preserved stem cells from the same individual or from a donor; the donor’s stem cells can derive from bone marrow or the bloodstream.
“I just wanted to thank you all so very much for all your notes and messages of support, encouragement and all the love you’ve been sending my way," York said in the video. “I feel your hugs every day, and I thank you very much for that.... So, one day at a time. We’ve gotta take care of this.”
To learn more, click Cancer Health’s Basics on Blood Cancer, which reads in part:
What are the risk factors for blood cancers?
Risk factors for blood cancers include family history, certain genetic disorders, smoking and exposure to radiation. People treated with radiation or chemotherapy for other types of cancers are at higher risk for developing leukemia. People with HIV and those taking immune-suppressing drugs are at higher risk for lymphoma. Epstein-Barr virus (a virus in the herpes family) is associated with certain types of lymphoma.
What are the symptoms of blood cancers?
Uncontrolled growth of immature blood cells can crowd out functional blood cells that perform vital functions, such as fighting infections, carrying oxygen to the body’s tissues and enabling blood to clot after an injury. Blood cancer symptoms may include:
- Fever and night sweats
- Frequent infections
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss
- Fatigue or weakness
- Shortness of breath
- Easy bruising or bleeding
- Pain or pressure below the ribs.
For related profiles in Cancer Health, see “Meet My Perfect Stranger, a Stem Cell Donor Who Saved My Life” and the summer 2023 cover story “Finding the Right Match: Leukemia, a Stem Cell Donor and Charlie’s Law.”