Burbank's mayor announces he has stage 4 liver cancer

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Burbank Mayor Will Rogers announced that he has stage 4 liver cancer during a Wednesday afternoon press conference.

A transplant or traditional chemotherapy are not viable options, Rogers said, but he noted that he was working with a cancer research clinic affiliated with Cedars-Sinai hospital, participating in drug trials and immunotherapy.

"Like every one of us here today, I don't know today if I have another week, or another five weeks," Rogers said.

Rogers has been diagnosed four times over the last two years, then diagnosed cancer-free a week later, he said. He said he's been diagnosed with non-alcoholic cirrhosis, but not hepatitis, which he noted is normally associated with liver cancer.

"In fact, I have none of the hallmarks of liver cancer or non-alcoholic cirrhosis. There's no history of anything similar in my family, and nothing in health or family records to explain why essentially a teetotaling 58-, 59-year-old has the liver of an 85-year-old lush," Rogers said.

Rogers plans to continue serving as mayor but will scale back on the events he attends, Rogers said.

"I will miss many of you at some of them, some of you at many of them, and I will be home trying to get that rest I am supposed to have," Rogers said.

He noted that he was supposed to have been keeping an easier schedule already, but had been a "dismal, dismal failure" during the month of August. He said that led to an encephalitic infection in his brain, which was "extremely unpleasant" and put him in the hospital for a week.

Rogers asked his wife not to be at the press conference Wednesday because of the difficulty for both her and him, Rogers said, but he thanked her and his children for their support, as well as his fellow City Council members and staff.

His commitment to transparency was tested by this illness, Rogers said, but he added that he wanted to inform the people of Burbank. He said he was moved by the stories of others who had been through more than him, including members of the city of Burbank's staff.

"I just have nothing to complain about, compared to so many of these people," Rogers said. "If my work is somehow diminished on the council, however — if I essentially can't serve as promised, I feel it wise to tell the people of the city. And that has been the case."

Rogers previously worked as a journalist, before being elected to the Burbank City Council in 2015.

This story has been updated.

With contributions from Brianna Flores

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