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Why Nick Cannon Didn’t Want To Put Late Son Zen Through 'Heartbreaking' Chemotherapy

Nick Cannon Didn’t Want To Put Late Son Zen Through 'Heartbreaking' Chemotherapy In All-Too-Short Life

Nick Cannon went through some very difficult decisions while dealing with his late son Zen Scott Cannon‘s brain cancer.

Of course, the baby — who Nick shared with Alyssa Scott — sadly passed away last December at just five months old due to complications from a brain tumor. Even in his all-too-short life, he brought joy to the 42-year-old TV star. But along with it, Nick had to make some very tough choices regarding the infant’s end-of-life care.

Related: Alyssa Scott Reveals The Last Words She Said To Zen In Heartbreaking Post

The Wild’N Out host revealed the reality behind some of those decisions this week. Cannon sat down with Dr. David Agus for an episode of The Checkup, which streamed via Paramount+ on Tuesday. In their frank discussion about health, Nick explained what Zen went through during his time on Earth.

At one point, doctors suggested Zen might be a candidate to undergo chemotherapy to fight the brain tumor. However, Nick was concerned that the procedures would be too physically taxing for the baby’s body. He explained his thought process to Dr. Agus during their discussion:

“Seeing your son hooked up to all of those machines — and he had to go for a shunt two or three times, and that was heartbreaking every time — even in that short amount of time, I couldn’t imagine him having to go through chemo.”

Quickly, the Masked Singer host and the 29-year-old Scott came together to figure out what to do. Their decision was impacted greatly by doctors telling them chemo would “not really” extend Zen’s life or decrease his suffering.

When Nick and Alyssa learned that, they knew it was best to mitigate suffering. They were hoping to give Zen a somewhat better quality of life during that awful and uncertain time.

The San Diego native explained:

“From that point, they pretty much told me that, ‘best case scenario, your son could live to 3 or 4 years old.’ So, instantly when I heard that, I thought quality of life. I wanted him to have the best experience he could have.”

Ugh. A really difficult decision — but one we can certainly understand.

Related: Nick Cannon’s Many Baby Mommas Celebrated Him On His 42nd Birthday!

The treatment plan then moved on to the use of shunts. That procedure was used to drain fluid from Zen’s brain, which alleviated pressure and discomfort. For Nick, even though no procedure could scale back the brain cancer diagnosis, using shunts in this way was all about giving Zen relative peace in the moment:

“That, to me, made logical sense. There was less pain on him and the procedure was quick. It was all about quality of life.”

For what it’s worth, Nick knows the effects of chemotherapy better than most. The Gigolo musician underwent chemo treatments himself in the past while battling lupus.

Remembering what chemo did to him as an adult, Cannon couldn’t imagine making his infant son do the same:

“I knew how as a full-grown man, that process … my hair was falling out. I wouldn’t even call it pain; it just sucked everything out of you. I couldn’t imagine that on a newborn and what that would do.”


This was truly a case of having no easy or simple decision. Nick and Alyssa made the best one at the time, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t still difficult and heartbreaking.

Related: ‘Emily In Paris’ Star Ashley Park Opens Up About Battling Cancer As A Teenager

As Perezcious readers will recall, earlier this month, Nick paid tribute to Zen. On the one-year anniversary of the baby boy’s death, Cannon took to Instagram to post a memorial for his late son.

In it, the All That alum wrote:

“I can’t believe it’s been a year already since the toughest day of my life occurred. Such a painful anniversary. Losing a child has to be the heaviest, most dark and depressive experience that I will never get over. A mixture of guilt, pain and sorrow is what I suppress daily. I am far from perfect and often fall short and make decisions in my life that many question, but anyone who knows me knows my heart. I love hard, I love big and I love with my entire heart and soul and I just wish my little man could’ve felt more of that love while he was here on Earth.”

We continue to send our love to Nick and Alyssa. A pain like this can never go away. We are buoyed by the fact that they are expecting again! But the gravity of Zen’s death continues to be so crushing.

Sending love and light…

[Image via Nick Cannon/Instagram/WENN/Avalon]

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Dec 15, 2022 09:30am PDT