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Social Distortion Frontman and Orange County Punk Icon Mike Ness Diagnosed with Stage One Cancer

Notes of support immediately started to pour in from fans, including positive words from L.A.'s Bad Religion and Mexico's Divisi贸n Minuscula.

10:57 AM PDT on June 8, 2023

Mike Ness, the iconic Fullerton-raised frontman of Social Distortion, posted on Instagram yesterday morning that he has been diagnosed with stage one tonsil cancer. As a result, Social Distortion has canceled all upcoming tour dates in the U.S. and Canada while the singer recovers.

Notes of support immediately started to pour in from millions of fans for the voice behind such punk-rockabilly anthems as "Story of My Life" and "Mommy's Little Monster," both from around the country and the global punk community at large, including positive words from L.A.'s Bad Religion and Mexico's Divisi贸n Minuscula.

Ness is staying positive and says he will start radiation in three weeks. "It should be the last therapy I need. The team of doctors are certain that once finished with this course, I will be able to start the healing and recovery process. We expect a full recovery, enabling me to live a long and productive life."

There are several factors that affect the exact survival rate of people who have tonsil cancer. The National Institute of Health reports that tonsil聽cancer is dependent on the HPV status of the tumor, with HPV positive tumors聽showing a 5-year聽overall survival of聽71% compared to 46% in HPV negative disease in one study.聽However, this survival benefit can be negated聽by the presence of smoking, with mortality rates being significantly higher in HPV-positive smokers compared to non-smokers.

Ness was born in Massachusetts in 1962 before his family moved to Orange County shortly after. He formed the band in 1979, watching it go on to become one of the most successful punk bands after its songs, weaving hard chugging riffs with rockabilly greaser style and a junkie jailbird's vocabulary into Hank Williams-style confessionals, broke into the mainstream through catchy songs like "Ball and Chain."

A very young Ness co-starred in the seminal punk rock documentary "Another State of Mind" in 1984, along with Youth Brigade. His band Social Distortion is considered an iconic and influential punk band that defined the Southern California punk sound. Ness's hits, like "Mommy's Little Monster" has inspired Latin-ified tribute songs by Orange County's satire Latino punk band, Manic Hispanic.

Here's wishing Ness a speedy recovery.

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