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zen's treatment

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Almost a year after Nick Cannon and Alyssa Scott’s first child passed away from a rare form of brain cancer, the actor and host is continuing to shed light on their son Zen.

The Masked Singer host opened up on Paramount+’s The Checkup with Dr. David Agus about how he and Scott first learned about their infant’s condition.

Cannon shared that Zen “was healthy, active, [and] always smiling” in his early days of life.

However, once the infant was around two months old, the Wild ‘N Out star said he noticed the Zen’s “interesting” breathing patterns and large head size.

When he and Scott took the newborn to the hospital — with the suspicion Zen may have asthma — the child’s physician noted that Zen’s head size was the “first sign something was occurring.”

“They did a lot of tests. They didn’t let him leave the hospital,” Cannon recalled. “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? And to know that he gets diagnosed with brain cancer, that was a shock.”

The host said Zen’s doctors “laid it out” for him regarding the realities of the infant’s high-grade glioma diagnosis once he asked them to “be upfront” with him.


Zen’s Treatment

While chemotherapy was presented as an option for treatment, Cannon said decreasing Zen’s head size “from rapidly continuing to grow” was the initial step when they “first went to the hospital.”

“There were a couple of procedures we were all for,” he explained, noting that the doctors used a shunt to drain fluid from the infant’s brain.

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

The host explained elsewhere in the interview that doctors told him chemo wouldn’t really be effective in extending Zen’s life or lessening his suffering because of the placement of his tumor.


Having gone through chemo as a treatment for his lupus, Cannon said thinking about his infant having to go through that was unimaginable.

“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,” he said.

“I knew how as a full grown man, that process… My hair was falling out,” he continued. “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.”

Cannon shared that he and Scott also wanted Zen’s treatment not to keep the infant “living at the hospital.”

“He would have never gone home,” Cannon said, noting that he and Scott “went to the space of ‘we want to enjoy him and we want him to enjoy [us].'”


Although Zen’s last days were “tough,” Cannon acknowledged Scott’s strength and resilience.

“I definitely couldn’t have did it without her. The fact that she was the one, from every aspect she handled it,” Cannon stated. “We had some beautiful moments. We had the opportunity, we knew the transition was coming. 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,” he added.

RELATED CONTENT: “Here’s The Tattoo Nick Cannon Got To Honor His Late Son, Zen”

Zen passed away at five months old in December 2021.

Cannon shared on Instagram earlier this month that he still feels “broken” over the loss as he commemorated the first anniversary of the infant’s death.

News that the host and Scott are expecting a second child together, Cannon’s 12th, was confirmed in October. 

RELATED CONTENT: “Nick Cannon and Alyssa Scott Launch’ Zen’s Light’ Foundation In Honor Of Late Son”

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