Health & Wellness

Tom Brokaw: My daughter has been 'invaluable' in my fight against cancer

Facing a daily battle with cancer since his diagnosis in 2013, Tom Brokaw has learned the huge difference that having a good support system makes.

His daughter, Dr. Jennifer Brokaw, has been crucial during his fight with multiple myeloma, an incurable but treatable form of blood cancer.

Jennifer is an emergency room physician in San Francisco.

"She was invaluable to me because she knew what questions to ask, what research to look for, how to get on the phone with me,'' Brokaw told Savannah Guthrie and Willie Geist on TODAY Monday.

"I say to cancer patients, find a friend who's a doctor, and don't make them part of your treatment team, make him your consigliere, your ombudsman. They'll know what questions to ask. They'll tell you what the translation may be about the information that you're getting."

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Brokaw, 76, detailed the importance of family for those battling cancer in his best-selling book, "A Lucky Life Interrupted," which is now being released in paperback.

"If you have cancer, in a way your whole family gets cancer because they're involved in it,'' he said. "If you don't have cancer, you can be sympathetic, but you really can't understand it until you get to it yourself."

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He undergoes daily chemotherapy and is more susceptible to infection, like the severe bronchitis he said he encountered last week.

His daily life also has been enriched by a new group of friends he has made as they go through a similar cancer fight, including a family friend who passed away last year.

"He had a much more serious form of cancer than I did, but I was witness to his bravery and his optimism,'' Brokaw said.

"Michael and I would talk about fatigue and how no one could understand. He didn't make it. The bravest guy I've ever met at that age, and I'll miss him every day, and that's the consequence of cancer."

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