The week of Thanksgiving 1999, less than a month after his election as Erie County executive, Joel Giambra announced that he had a cancerous tumor on his tonsil.
"Giambra: 'I’ll be here to serve' "
"It's still not clear how doctors will attack the cancerous lesion in Joel A. Giambra's right tonsil, but a key member of the county executive-elect's medical team said the tumor has been found fairly early and can be successfully treated.
" '(Giambra) has an excellent outlook,' said Dr. John M. Lore Jr., a specialist in cancers of the head and neck.
"If anyone needed another high-profile example of the dangers of smoking cigarettes, this is it.
"Cancer of the tonsils occurs predominantly in men and is strongly linked to smoking. Giambra has been a heavy cigarette smoker, about one pack a day, since his teen years."
" 'To those who say I'm not going to be around, it's not true,' he said. 'I'll be here to serve. I have faith, and my faith right now is in the hands of my doctors and the good Lord.'
"Giambra, 42, who defeated County Executive Gorski on Nov. 2 to become the sixth Erie County executive, disclosed Wednesday that the sore throat bothering him for weeks was diagnosed Monday night to be cancer. He said the presumed malignancy was discovered in only one location, a lymph node in his upper neck."