Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell's Cancer Returns

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December 2, 2013
By Julie Montanaro

Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell is battling lung cancer - again.

Campbell announced last week that doctors had found a spot on his bladder and a spot on his lung.

He is hoping smokers will take heed of his diagnosis and put down the cigarettes.

"I ate 'em. I stuffed 'em in my ears, up my nose ... I loved 'em," Sheriff Campbell said, "but they make you have cancer so it's not worth it."

Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell says he started smoking in the Marine Corps at the age of 17. Eventually he was smoking three to five packs a day.

So what made him quit cold turkey nearly 50 years later?

"I quit the day Dr. Forsthoefel told me I had cancer about seven years ago and I have not had one since then," Campbell said.

Campbell was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2007. He was back on the job two weeks later and deemed cancer free six months out.

Not anymore. During a recent check up, doctors discovered a spot on his left lung and his bladder.

He is undergoing External Beam Radiation therapy this time.

"You see people and they say 'What are you doing out here Larry? You're not sick are ya?' Nah, I just have cancer," he said.

Campbell says he will remain on the job and has every intention of serving out his four year term.

"I am not stealing your money, taxpayers. I am working. I took two weeks and was back to work last time and haven't missed but four days this time."

Campbell says the doctors have given him a 95% - 98% chance of living five years or more. He jokes that as a longtime lawman he's been living on borrowed time anyway.

"I always thought I would be killed in a gunfight," he said.

He jokes about just about everything, but is deadly serious about this.

"If you haven't been checked, go get checked. If you don't you're going to die with it. If you do get checked, the worst thing they can tell you is you got it and they can start working on it," Campbell said.

Campbell completed his final round of radiation therapy today.

Leon County Sheriff's Office
November 26, 2013

In 2007 Sheriff Larry Campbell shared with the citizens of Leon County that during a routine physical exam on August 15, 2007, a chest x-ray revealed a cancerous spot on his right lung. Sheriff Campbell said that was the day he stopped smoking and began his battle to beat cancer. In September 2007, Sheriff Campbell underwent successful surgery at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital to remove a cancerous growth on the lower lobe of his right lung. Two weeks after surgery Sheriff Campbell was back at work and in February 2008, he was cancer free.

Since that time Sheriff Campbell received regular cancer screenings and continued to support cancer awareness and research through his active participation with the American Cancer Society Relay for Life.

Today Sheriff Campbell spoke with members of the Leon County Sheriff’s Office and reported that during a recent health screening, a cancerous spot was found on his left lung and a polyp was found on his bladder. Sheriff Campbell reported the polyp on his bladder has been successfully removed and the lung cancer is being treated with External Beam Radiation Therapy (EBRT) which focuses radiation from outside the body on the cancer. Sheriff Campbell expects the radiation therapy will be completed in the next few weeks, without interruption of his daily planned schedule.

“It is extremely important to me to openly communicate with the community and members of the Leon County Sheriff’s Office on matters which impact this agency” Sheriff Campbell said of his medical health disclosure. “As the elected Sheriff of Leon County, I believe it is best to be as transparent as possible in all matters related to this Office, which includes letting the citizens know the status of my health”.

Sheriff Campbell credits regular cancer screenings and early detection with his expected full recovery, and is confident that once again he will be cancer free. Sheriff Campbell added “during this Thanksgiving season I am grateful to have the wonderful support of my family, employees, friends and the citizens of Leon County during this time as I continue the fight against cancer and fulfill my duties as Sheriff”.

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