Houston Texans owner Bob McNair gets clean bill of health after skin cancer battle

By Phil Archer - Reporter

HOUSTON - Houston Texans owner Bob McNair says he's been given a clean bill of health by his doctors after a 10-month battle with skin and blood cancer.

Appearing with a shaved head, McNair addressed the media Thursday afternoon, saying he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of skin cancer last fall complicated by a second cancer, a type of blood cancer that interferes with the body's immune system.

McNair says he's been diagnosed with skin cancer several times over the last two decades. He blames it on overexposure to the sun as a teenager.

"I worked on the beach as a lifeguard. It was summer, we didn't have sun screen. I'd get burnt to a crisp every year," McNair said. "As I've told some people I think I've just outlived my skin."

Last fall, McNair's dermatologist discovered a malignant growth behind his left year. But this time surgery didn't get it all, so McNair began treatments at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center under an assumed name.

"My skin has been abused by the sun... over the last 20 years," he said. "I guess the message is you need to wear sunscreen."

He received a new type of radiation therapy called Proton Therapy that kills cancerous cells with less damage to healthy cells than older methods.

"For six weeks I had radiation every morning, a total of 30 treatments I think and had chemotherapy up to about the fourth week," McNair said.

McNair said he was diagnosed with a type of blood cancer called Chronic lymphocytic leukemia about six years ago. It's an illness which requires no therapy or medication, but weakened his body's immune system. It allowed his skin cancer to become more aggressive.

McNair received an experimental therapy called Pheresis that expands immune cells in the blood to combat the blood cancer. Because it's not yet approved by the FDA, McNair had to be accepted into a study to receive the treatment.

His doctor says the billionaire Texans owner didn't receive special consideration to be accepted into the study.

"Whoever comes in, regardless of socioeconomic status, ends up receiving them. So there's no jumping lines," Dr. Michael Keating said.

McNair says he received a clean bill of health earlier this week from his team of doctors at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and plans to continue in his role as CEO of the Texans. He says he hopes his case encourages others suffering from cancer to keep fighting.

"In the past if you mentioned cancer it was a death sentence and that's not the case," he said.

The 77-year-old McNair says he's planning to be around for a while longer to win some Super Bowls, pointing out his father lived to be 102.

He praised Dr. Michael Keating and the medical team at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, as well as his son, other members of the Texans front office and new head coach Bill O'Brien.

McNair also referred to the Texans players as "my teammates" and said he appreciated their support.

"We won this other battle, now we need to go win this battle on the football field," he said.

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