Champion dog musher Lance Mackey diagnosed with cancer again

Musher Lance Mackey gets his sled dog team ready for the 2020 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race ceremonial start in Anchorage on Saturday, March 7, 2020. (Joey Mendolia/Alaska Public Media)

Champion dog musher Lance Mackey of Fairbanks has been diagnosed with cancer again.

Mackey, 51, shared the news on Facebook Tuesday. Mackey survived throat cancer nearly 20 years ago, prior to racking up four Iditarod and four Yukon Quest wins by 2010. He’s also the only sled dog musher to have won both of the 1,000-mile races the same year.

In the Facebook post, Mackey said he’d like to lease his 20 dogs so they can race the 2022 season, but adds that he has “every intention to race again.”  

Mackey’s new cancer diagnosis follows treatment for a methamphetamine addiction, and the death of his partner Jennifer Smith in an ATV accident last fall.

Mackey is solo parenting the couple’s two young children. Mackey, who also successfully races cars, survived a serious crash in April.

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Dan Bross is a reporter at KUAC in Fairbanks.

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