He’s the President of Comcast SportsNet Chicago, a 24-hour regional sports television and online network.
The station not only shows the games of the White Sox, Cubs, Blackhawks, and Bulls, but it’s owned by them and Comcast Cable.
Juggling the interests of all the parties could be a gigantic task or a great benefit.
Corno sees the benefits. Under his leadership, Comcast SportsNet was successfully launched in October of 2004 and immediately delivered the most comprehensive local sports coverage Chicago had ever seen and, most likely, will ever see.
Picking the Team
So, knowing how important it is to put together the right players and let them do their jobs, when Corno was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2006 at the age of 58, he started the search for his medical team. Soon, he discovered that family and co-workers are more than spectators too.
“I was fortunate,” Corno said. “My general practitioner, Dr. Kevin Regan, noticed my PSA went up a little bit and he said we should monitor it more closely. After a couple of tests, he recommended a urologist and a biopsy. Thank goodness my doctor knew the importance of PSA Velocity because the PSA itself wasn’t that much of a concern.”
The biopsy showed prostate cancer with a Gleason Score of 9.
The team so far was his doctor, the urologist and very important, his wife, Carolyn. She went with him to all the doctor’s appointments, did the research on treatments and surgeons, and provided emotional support.
“Getting diagnosed with cancer is a traumatic experience.” Corno said. “You want to have confidence in the doctors, but it’s good to have someone who loves you right there beside you. And my wife was always there.”
Gleason Score 9 was a clear indicator for treatment. The prostate had to go.
The Team Expanded
A sales assistant at the network just happened to be the godson of Dr. Patrick Walsh, noted prostate surgeon in the Northeast, and respected colleague of Dr. Catalona. He suggested an appointment with Dr. Catalona.
Dr. Catalona had been on the recommended list of Corno’s urologist, Dr. Joseph Nuzzarello, as well. Corno’s wife did the confirming research.
“I relied on Carolyn for the final recommendation. She told me, “You’re going to do open radical prostatectomy, not robotic, and we’re going to have Dr. Catalona.’”
Adverse findings in the final pathology report after the prostatectomy followed with a recommendation for radiation therapy. When PSA readings continued in the recurrence range, Corno met another member of his team, the oncologist Dr. Gary MacVicar. Corno is on intermittent hormonal therapy – two year cycles of Lupron.
Working With the Results
“They used to call me ‘the jet.’ I have slowed down some, but my treatment hasn’t affected my work, which I still enjoy tremendously. I can’t say I have no side effects from the therapy and sometimes, they’re uncomfortable, but nothing I can’t deal with. And some effects on the family have been positive. I make sure I find more time to spend with my kids, grandkids and family,” Corno said.
Corno is from an Italian family and he and his brother had been talking about going to Italy for 20 years.
“This summer we took our families and did it,” he said.
Corno gets bone density tests regularly and takes Prosteon, a nutritional supplement designed to promote bone health in men undergoing hormone therapy. To keep his muscle mass, he’s on a regular exercise regime as well.
Corno’s son, Jim Jr. who also works at the station, said, “My father is still a non-stop personality with contagious energy.”
But it’s not only Jim Jr. who is a family member at the station. Jeff Nuich, Senior Director of Communications at Comcast SportsNet and longtime employee of Corno’s, said, “Jim has a second family here. From a personal standpoint, outside of my parents, the person I respect the most is Jim. All of us stepped up our game when he had his operation. We gave him our assurance that everything he built and created was in our good hands.”
Having the Support
Corno took strength from his network team.
“I was so fortunate to work for a company, including our four professional Chicago team partners and Comcast, that gave me a tremendous amount of support. I knew everything at work was being handled well. I was truly grateful to know they were behind me,” Corno said.
Just this past year, in recognition of both his professional and his charitable work, Corno was inducted into the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences prestigious “Silver Circle,” along with a well-deserved induction into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame.
Corno took his team support from everywhere. Even his youngest grandson Scott had a part.
“He was the comic relief,” Corno said. “And one should not underestimate how important laughter is for healing.”
Clearly, Corno is a team player and a team leader. He’s going to share what he learned from his experiences.
“Getting tested is important. And having doctors who understand the results is important. The PSA test saved my life. Now, my 44-year-old son gets checked regularly. I support Dr. Catalona’s research. Both my father and uncle had prostate cancer. I hope that by the time my five grandsons are adults, the answers for prostate cancer prevention and cure are in the medical arena.”
Corno works on prostate awareness campaigns with professional sports teams too and supports arrangements for free PSA testing at local sporting events.
He also makes sure in his network’s game telecasts to highlight when patients talk about PSA testing and their experiences with prostate cancer.
Clearly, Jim Corno is a man who enjoys his family, his work and his relationships. Team building — it’s not just a sports thing.