What cancer did Darren Dutchyshen have? TSN star's death prompts more than 5,000% spike in web searches

Two high-profile cancer stories prompted national interest in prostate cancer and breast cancer.

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Darren Dutchyshen (left) and Amanda Doyle made headlines this week for their battles with cancer. (Images via CP/Instagram/@GlennonDoyle)
Darren Dutchyshen (left) and Amanda Doyle made headlines this week for their battles with cancer. (Images via CP/Instagram/@GlennonDoyle)

When headline-making news leaves Canadians with more questions than answers, our first stop is often to turn to the internet with our most pressing concerns.

This week, Canadians were saddened to learn of the death of TSN sports commentator Darren Dutchyshen.

Earlier this week, Dutchyshen’s family announced the 57-year-old died on May 15, “surrounded by his closest loved ones.” The Porcupine Plain, Sask. native is survived by his three children from his previous marriage, Tyler, Brett and Paige and his partner, TSN and SportsCentre host Kate Bierness.

The news prompted a more than 5,000 per cent increase in queries to learn more about the Dutchyshen’s death.

Although his family did not confirm a cause of death, TSN reported that Dutchyshen died following “a long battle with prostate cancer.”

In Sept. 2021, Dutchyshen revealed he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and was absent from work for a year while receiving treatment. The Toronto Star reported the diagnosis was prompted by constant pain in Dutchyshen’s back, which he learned was prostate cancer that had metastasized to his spine. He returned to on-air duties the following September and told viewers that the cancer had spread throughout his body.

“It’s not the kind of cancer where you ring a bell. So it’s still in the base of my skull, my ribs, my legs, hips, and stuff like that, but it’s treatable, and I feel really, really good. And the place that I feel best is right here,” Dutchyshen said.

According to the Toronto Star, Dutchyshen was able to continue working until December 2023, when the cancer spread to his lungs. He was able to go on a European vacation with Bierness, but his health forced the couple to end their trip early.

Following news of Dutchyshen’s death, web searches for the warning signs of prostate cancer increased by more than 5,000 per cent.

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer for men. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, approximately 24,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year.

The prostate gland is located just below the bladder and surrounds the urethra; it produces fluid that along with sperm makes up semen. Approximately 95 per cent of all prostate cancers are adenocarcinoma, which begins in the gland cells.

Darren Dutchyshen (pictured at the 2015 MuchMusic Video Awards) died on May 15.  (Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage)
Darren Dutchyshen (pictured at the 2015 MuchMusic Video Awards) died on May 15. (Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage)

Symptoms of prostate cancer may include painful urination, blood in the urine or semen, painful ejaculation, frequent urge to urinate (especially at night), weakened stream of urine and pain in the hips, pelvis or back. Weight loss, kidney problems and bone pain could also be signs that cancer has spread or advanced.

Unlike other forms of cancer, prostate cancers are usually slow growing; cells can begin changing up to 30 years before tumours become large enough to cause symptoms. By the time symptoms appear the cancer may have spread.

Amanda Doyle, author Glennon Doyle’s sister and the co-host of the “We Can Do Hard Things” podcast, recently announced she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Doyle announced the news on a recent episode of the hit podcast, prompting a 4,800 per cent increase in web searches for Doyle and her health condition.

“Three weeks ago I was informed that a biopsy that I had revealed breast cancer. The first couple of weeks were very much a rollercoaster of, ‘What does that mean? How bad is it? What is the prognosis?’ All of that,” the 45-year-old said. “It’s just kind of a doozy. I don’t know that it’s ever not surprising to people to learn something like this.”

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer for women in Canada. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, it’s estimated that 30,500 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2024 with approximately 15 women dying from breast cancer each day.

Doyle decided to have genetic testing done following the death of a friend from cancer. When her results worried her, Doyle went to a facility for cancer prevention and learned that she had three times higher the risk for developing cancer “sometime in her life” due to her family history and the density of her breasts. Even though she went for yearly mammograms, a baseline MRI detected cancer.

“I was just sitting on the side of the road with my cell phone and it was very eerie and odd,” she said. “I remember being like, ‘Holy sh—, I saved my life.’"

Speak to your healthcare provider about assessing your risk for cancer. One way to determine wither you are at risk for breast cancer is the Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool (BCRAT), which uses risk factors such as genetic history, lifestyle and reproductive history to estimate a person's risk of developing invasive breast cancer over the next five years and up to age 90.

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