Angela “Big Ang” Raiola, star of the VH1 reality show, Mob Wives has cancer. She revealed through Facebook that she has throat cancer and a surgery will be performed to remove the malignant lemon-sized tumor. This news, albeit upsetting and worrisome for fans of the voluptuous, raspy-voiced mob wife, has raised implications about her lifestyle contributing to her diagnosis.
I have watched Mob Wives from inception (one of my favorite reality shows, actually) and Big Ang is smoking in almost every scene she is featured. She lights her brown cigarettes everywhere, anywhere, anytime – in her house, around friends, at clubs, restaurants, and even at the homes of fellow cast mates. Her smoking habit, undoubtedly has been enabled by those closest to her.
Last week, her sister Janine confirmed the diagnosis to TMZ’s top guy, Harvey Levin. He delicately asked her about the allegations Big Ang faces in the complicity of her own diagnosis. Janine tells him there is no history of cancer in the family and she believes smoking is the culprit. Big Ang has been smoking cigarettes for over 40 years, since the age of 13. At thirteen years old, I never fathomed smoking cigarettes, not only because it was instilled in me by my parents and mentors that it was unhealthy, but also, my perception of it being such a ‘grown up’ thing to do.
Her sister told TMZ that giving up smoking has been undeniably difficult for Big Ang. Still, Janine admitted to Ang having smoked one or two cigarettes despite diagnosis. It is unknown whether or not the reality show will document her journey or if she would even be healthy enough to continue filming.
In 2012, Big Ang was featured in a small exposé by the New York Post about her extravagant lifestyle and newfound celebrity. Among the excessive furniture and fixtures, the smoking lounge decked out with crystal ashtrays and other glittering accoutrements stood out the most. In the article, Ang revealed that she had intentions of quitting the cigarettes, enlisting the help of a doctor called the “Mad Russian” to help rid her of the bad habit. She says, “I smoked 40 years of brown cigarettes. I love it, but I don’t care.”
With much research conducted on the effects of cigarette smoking, there is widespread agreement that smoking kills – even those that do not actively engage in the act, but are surrounded by it.
Prayerfully, all goes well with her surgery and any and all cancer is removed from her throat. As for her signature raspy voice, well, let’s hope that doesn’t change.