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Nick Cannon Recalls the ‘Shock’ of Late Son Zen’s Brain Cancer Diagnosis

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Nick Cannon sat down for a new interview Wednesday (Dec. 14) to discuss his late son Zen’s battle with a rare form of brain cancer.

Speaking to Dr. David Agus, the Masked Singer host shared that, initially, he brought Zen for a checkup when the baby started breathing abnormally. “But when we took him to the doctor, they noticed that his head was larger than it should’ve been at 2 months. And then that was the first sign that there was something occurring,” he explained in the new episode of The Checkup With Dr. Agus.


“They did a lot of tests; they didn’t let him leave the hospital,” Cannon continued. “And so you can imagine, you think you’re taking your son in to get a checkup for, at the worst I was thinking asthma, you know? And to know that he gets diagnosed with brain cancer, that was a shock.”

Cannon further explained that his and mom Alyssa Scott’s primary focus from then on was the 2-month-old’s quality of life, from letting the doctors put a shunt in to drain the fluid from his brain to deciding to forgo further, more aggressive treatment like chemotherapy.

“They pretty much told me that, ‘Best-case scenario, your son could live to 3 or 4 years old,’” he said. “And so instantly when I heard that, I was like, ‘OK, quality of life. I want him to have the best existence that he could possibly have.’”


Sadly, Zen died in December 2021 at just 5 months old. Since then, Cannon has welcomed four more children with four other women, and Scott announced last month that her second baby with the star is on the way — bringing his ever-growing brood to a full dozen.

Cannon’s episode of The Checkup is now streaming on Paramount+. Additional episodes feature interviews with Oprah Winfrey and Maria Shriver, Amy Schumer, Ashton Kutcher and his twin brother Michael and more.

Watch a preview of Cannon’s discussion with Dr. Agus below.

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