Nick Cannon Opens Up About Decision To Not Treat Son With Chemo

by Madison Vanderberg
Bruce Glikas/Getty

Nick Cannon and Alyssa Scott lost their son Zen earlier this month and now Cannon is opening up about Zen’s final days and months

Earlier this month, TV host Nick Cannon opened up about the tragic loss of his and model Alyssa Scott’s 5-month-old son, Zen. Zen was diagnosed with a brain tumor when he was only two-months-old and he passed away at just five months. In a new interview with People, Cannon shares why he and Scott came to the difficult decision to not treat Zen’s tumor with chemotherapy and instead try to give him the fullest life possible with his remaining days.

As Cannon has shared before, the couple took Zen to the doctor’s because his head seemed larger than normal and he appeared to have a cold. In the new People interview, Cannon clarified that Zen was diagnosed over the summer with a high-grade glioma, a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer. Doctors placed a shunt in Zen’s skull to drain excess fluid that was collecting around the brain, but his tumors continued to grow.

It was then that the difficult decisions began for Cannon and Scott.

“We started asking, ‘Is there a way to prevent this? If not, how long do we have?’ ” Cannon shared. “The conversations quickly turned to, ‘How can we give him the best life for the time that he does have?’ It could be weeks, it could be months, it could be years.”

Cannon and Scott made the difficult decision to not pursue any further invasive procedures, like chemotherapy (which Cannon himself has experienced as treatment for Lupus), and focus on keeping their son “as happy as he could possibly be.”

“We were having quality-of-life conversations,” he said. “We could have had that existence where he would’ve had to live in the hospital, hooked up to machines, for the rest of the time. From someone who’s had to deal with chemotherapy before, I know that pain. To see that happen to a 2-month-old, I didn’t want that. I didn’t want him to suffer.”

“We focused on Disneyland, our favorite place,” explains Cannon. “Every month we would celebrate his birthday, just really seeing it as a victory every time he had a milestone that he was still here with us.”

Cannon says Zen’s health began to decline around Thanksgiving.

Cannon said his son was struggling to breath, Cannon called it “the scariest thing I’ve ever experienced.” then, on December 5, 2021 Zen passed away in his parents’ arms. “I was like, ‘We have to watch the sun rise and just be there with him one last time,'” Cannon shared.

“We had a short time with a true angel,” says Cannon. “My heart is shattered. I wish I could have done more, spent more time with him, taken more pictures. I wish I could have hugged him longer.”

For her part, Scott released an emotional and heartbreaking statement on social media after the death of her son, writing that “the silence is deafening. These last 5 months we have been in this race together…it was an honor and privilege being your mommy. I will love you for eternity.” Last week Cannon immortalized his son’s short life with a tattoo in his honor, forever inked on Cannon’s rib cage.

Sending so much love to these parents during this devastating time.