Earlier today, Beastie Boy Adam “MCA” Yauch explained– via YouTube video clip– that he had been diagnosed with salivary gland cancer and would be canceling several dates in their upcoming tour schedule. While promoting their upcoming album in Europe, Yauch was diagnosed with parotid gland cancer, and is scheduling for surgery next week, followed by some localized radiation. It’s not in a place that affects his voice, he says in the video, calling the cancer “treatable” because they caught it early. Yauch apologized to fans who “were psyched to come to the shows” and promised he’d be back. Fellow Beastie Adam Horovitz (AdRock) was there to provide moral support, and a little comic relief.In the information age, it’s not all that surprising that a cancer announcement should be made online, via YouTube, direct from the artist to the fans. I first saw the news in my Facebook status feed. Then after viewing the clip on YouTube, I tweeted it. Then I received an official release from EMI Records, sent to me by my Idol Chatter editor. This is how news travels in the information age, and also illustrates the level of transparency and direct contact between artists and fans that we’re becoming used to.Here’s wishing a speedy and complete recovery to Yauch, and that he’ll keep us all updated of his progress via the social web.