Nick Cannon Explains Why He Refused Chemo For His 5-Month-Old Son Before He Died

Nick Cannon has shared the reason he chose not to let his son have chemo as a treatment for his cancer. 
Credit: Alamy & Nickelodeon

Nick Cannon has shared the reason he chose not to let his son have chemotherapy as treatment for his cancer. 

The actor and singer, 42, has a whopping 11 children and a twelfth on the way

With ex-wife Mariah Carey, he shares twins Monroe and Moroccan Scott, aged 11. 

He shares sons Golden Sagon and Rise Messiah, as well as daughter Powerful Queen, with model and former Miss Arizona USA Brittany Bell. 

With DJ and radio personality Abby De La Rosa, Cannon has twins Zion Mixolydian and Zillion Heir. They also welcomed a baby girl in November 2022.

He also has a son named Legendary Love with real estate agent and model Bre Tiesi.

Cannon is expecting his twelfth child with model Alyssa Scott after the pair tragically lost a child last year.

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Their five-month-old son, Zen, heartbreakingly died from a brain tumour in December 2021.

In an episode of Paramount+’s The Checkup with Dr David Agus, the Masked Singer host opened up about his son’s health and the decisions he and Scott made. 

Canon said until around two months, Zen was always ‘healthy, active [and] always smiling’.

He said that at around this time, he began to notice the infant’s ‘interesting’ breathing pattern. 

Cannon added: “We noticed his head was a little larger, [but] all my kids have big heads.

“I was a big-headed baby.”

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Initially, Cannon and Scott thought that Zen might have asthma.

They took him to the doctor where experts immediately noticed the size of the baby’s head, which was the ‘first sign something was occurring’.

Cannon explained: “They did a lot of tests. They didn’t let him leave the hospital. 

“And so you could imagine you think you’re taking your son in to get a checkup for – at the worst, I was thinking asthma, you know?” 

Zen was diagnosed with high-grade glioma, which is a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer, that can also be found in the spinal cord.

“And to know that he gets diagnosed with brain cancer, that was a shock,” Cannon recalled. 

Alyssa Scott
Nick Cannon is expecting another child with model Alyssa Scott. Credit: @itsalyssaemm/Instagram

The pair were presented with the option of chemotherapy as a course of treatment, however, they learnt that it wouldn’t have much impact on their baby’s life because of the placement of the tumour.

The former America’s Got Talent host added: “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.”

Cannon experienced a form of chemo himself as a treatment for his lupus and ‘knew what that did to me’.

He and Scott also had concerns about their son’s quality of life, and by being on chemo, Zen would have had to live in the hospital.

Heartbreakingly, Cannon also recalled the last days they spent with their son, explaining that he wouldn’t have been able to go through with it if it wasn’t for Scott.

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He said: “I definitely couldn’t have done it without her. The fact that she was the one, from every aspect she handled it.

“It happened a lot faster than we thought, but even that last weekend I knew, ‘This is probably going to be the last weekend’.

“Luckily we did everything from the sunrise, going to the beach, the sunset, said some beautiful prayers as a family, and really came together as a family in a very beautiful way. 

“I’m grateful for that, but it was definitely tough. To see your child there, suffering at a point and watching things shut down, it was pretty intense.”

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Written by Rosario Monachino

Rosario is a content editor at IGV who specialises in film, TV and entertainment news. He has a degree in English and Film from the University of Salford and a masters in Journalism from Liverpool John Moores University.