Mayor Sylvester Turner says he was diagnosed with cancer, underwent radiation treatment over summer

The Houston mayor told the audience at the annual State of the City address he had six weeks of radiation treatment from August to September. 


Mayor Sylvester Turner announced sweeping new police reforms at a City Hall press conference on April 29, 2021.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said Wednesday that he was treated for osteosarcoma – a type of bone cancer – in his jaw this summer.

Turner told the audience gathered for the annual State of the City address that he had six weeks of radiation treatment from August to September.

“I’ve had time to reflect on a number of things. We’ve gone through a great deal as a city, several declared disasters,” he said.

During the question and answer section, Turner was asked what he hopes to accomplish in his remaining 14 months as mayor.

“I’ve also had my own personal medical situation,” he said. “All of my life I’ve been the healthiest ever, and you deal with several federally declared disasters.”

Turner said he went to the dentist for a root canal before a trip to France with the Trade Mission, and he said doctors said he needed more than a root canal.

“I go and get a biopsy, and just before I was getting ready to go [to France] the doctor says, ‘you’re not going to make this trip,'” he told the audience. “And a week later I’m in the hospital, nine hours of surgery.”

Turner said he was in surgery on July 30, and in the hospital for eight days. His radiation began August 1, and ended September 12.

“Every single morning, Monday through Friday, 7:30, back at city council that day,” he said. “Continued to do what I needed to do for the city of Houston. I have been blessed. … When I look at what I had to endure myself, and then you bounce back. What I would say, this is an incredible city.”

It is unclear whether Turner is in remission or not.