Cerner CEO Reveals He Has Cancer | KCUR

Cerner CEO Reveals He Has Cancer

Jan 25, 2016

Cerner Corp. CEO Neal Patterson says his cancer diagnosis shouldn't affect the North Kansas City company's day-to-day operations.
Credit Courtesy photo / Cerner Corp.

Neal Patterson, the CEO and co-founder of health technology giant Cerner Corp., says he has cancer.

He made the announcement Monday in a letter to shareholders and employees, which the company filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission

"I wanted to let you know," Patterson wrote, "just after the new year, I was diagnosed with a soft tissue cancer. My physician says the type of cancer I have is treatable and curable, and there is no evidence of cancer elsewhere in my body. I plan to begin treatment immediately." 

Patterson helped found  North Kansas City-based Cerner in 1979 and has led the company as it has grown into a medical technology and IT behemoth that employs nearly 16,000 people worldwide and brought in $3.4 billion in revenue in 2014. Last year, Forbes named Cerner one of the world's Top 10 Most Innovative Companies.

In his letter, Patterson said the news will not force big changes in how the company operates. 

"We have the best leadership team in health care IT, and we are well equipped to continue to manage Cerner with our existing leadership structures while I receive treatment," he wrote. 

Yet, he alluded to how his position as the leader of a global health care company may affect his treatment and his business. 

"After years of studying health care systems around the world, this unique opportunity already had my gears turning," he wrote.

Kyle Palmer is KCUR's morning newscaster. You can follow him @kcurkyle