The world lost another cancer fighter, philanthropist, and pop culture icon this week. Adam “MCA” Yauch, a member of the iconic Beastie Boys, passed away after cancer of the salivary gland, at only 47. (Image courtesy of Foter)
Yauch was treated for the cancer first in 2009, with false reports surfacing in 2011 that he had beaten the disease. That, doctors are reporting, isn’t true, as he continued to fight the “big C” until it ultimately took his life. And although cancer of the salivary gland is quite rare, so was MCA’s life.
What started as three boys who were fighting for their right to party, quickly turned into a super group that combined social ideals and cross-platform diversity with each new album. Yauch even embraced a transformation after staying in Tibet, turning to veganism and Buddhism to improve the quality of his life. But he didn’t stop with just himself, because according to Beastiemania.com, soon he was advocating for the lives of the Tibetan people as well.
Yauch believed strongly in Tibet’s independence, and even established the Milarepa Fund to reach out to activists across the globe. But he never wished to be the voice of the people; rather to give them their own voice.
In the end, MCA was undone by the disease he had battled for three years. Cancer of the salivary gland makes up only 2.5 to 3 diagnoses out of every 100,000 cancer cases each year, according to the National Cancer Institute, and only represents three to five percent of head and neck cancers. The most common place that the tumors begin is in the parotid gland near the front part of the ear, and while not all are cancerous, it can lead to big trouble if not benign.
While it’s most common for people later in life, the Mayo Clinic reported that you can be exposed to risk factors like radiation, asbestos, and rubber manufacturing. According to the National Cancer Institute, typical warning signs can include a painless lump in the mouth or ear, numb or weak sensation in the face, problems swallowing and facial pains.
It was too early for the MCA to go out the way he did. But at least he lived a fulfilling life in which he learned a new way to approach himself, his faith, and his beliefs. He may have no longer been fighting for the right to party, but he was fighting all the same.
Chan, Amanda L. "Salivary Gland Cancer: Adam Yauch, Beastie Boys Bandmember, Dies Of The Disease, But What Is It?" The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 04 May 2012. Web. 08 May 2012. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/04/salivary-gland-cancer-adam-yauch_n_1478266.html>.
Adam Yauch 'became a Vegan'" ITV News. Web. 08 May 2012. <http://www.itv.com/news/update/2012-05-04/adam-yeuch-became-a-vegan/>.
Goldberg, Eleanor. "Adam Yauch Of Beastie Boys Remembered For Tibetan Activism, Freedom Concerts." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 04 May 2012. Web. 08 May 2012. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/04/adam-yauch-dead-tibet_n_1478359.html>.