Women's Health

Eric Idle, 79, reveals he survived ‘deadly’ pancreatic cancer after rare early diagnosis


Monty Python star Eric Idle, 79, has revealed he survived ‘deadly’ pancreatic cancer after a rare early diagnosis three years ago.

The comedian feels ‘very lucky’ to have had the disease, which has the highest death rate of any major cancer, detected at an early stage and after undergoing surgery he is now healthy.

He said in an interview with TIME: “About three years ago I was incredibly lucky: I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

“One of the deadliest forms of cancer, how the hell did she get lucky?” Well, because he was found incredibly early…before he was gone.

Fighter: Monty Python star Eric Idle, 79, has revealed he survived 'deadly' pancreatic cancer after a rare early diagnosis three years ago (pictured in 2019)

Fighter: Monty Python star Eric Idle, 79, has revealed he survived ‘deadly’ pancreatic cancer after a rare early diagnosis three years ago (pictured in 2019)

It was because of a friend that Eric received his diagnosis, revealing that while in the United States with his boyfriend, he was asked to undergo a variety of tests to help his friend – a doctor – in his studies in preventive medicine.

He was informed of the diagnosis by his friend, who enlightened him that there was a good chance of removing the cancer due to the rare early diagnosis.

Emboldened by the positive news surrounding his diagnosis, Eric recalled that his wife Tania, to whom he has been married for 41 years, came out into the garden and cried when she told him the news.

He revealed: ‘I tell her early on that she is by no means British and that tears, and even other expressions of emotion, are perfectly fine. She can cry. She can come for a hug. Anytime, night or day.

Grateful: The comedian feels 'very lucky' to have had the disease, which has the highest death rate of all major cancers (photo by Monty Python And The Holy Grail from 1975)

Grateful: The comedian feels 'very lucky' to have had the disease, which has the highest death rate of all major cancers (photo by Monty Python And The Holy Grail from 1975)

Grateful: The comedian feels ‘very lucky’ to have had the disease, which has the highest death rate of all major cancers (photo by Monty Python And The Holy Grail from 1975)

The actor and comedian admitted his secret battle with illness motivated him to take part in The Masked Singer US and although he was unmasked as The Hedgehog during Tuesday’s premiere episode, the program “has exchange”. [his] life’.

He told Entertainment Tonight: “It was all very zen. I really like it. It changed my life to be honest. I had pancreatic cancer and I was very lucky and lucky to survive.

“It caught on early, I had a big operation at Cedars and they saved my life, and I hadn’t told anyone about it.”

After having surgery, the comedian had the courage to ask [his] doctor how long [he] had’ and was stunned by the response.

He recalls: “He said, ‘Oh, at least 10 years. You’re fine, you’re healthy, the cancer is gone.” And I hadn’t really counted on that.

“So I thought, ‘Here’s my chance to do something good.’ I have to go out now with my cancer [battle]tell people that I survived and share this experience.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest forms of the disease and around 95% of people who get it die from it.

Joan Crawford, Patrick Swayze and Luciano Pavarotti all died of pancreatic cancer.

Bold move: The actor and comedian admitted his secret battle with illness motivated him to take part in The Masked Singer US

Bold move: The actor and comedian admitted his secret battle with illness motivated him to take part in The Masked Singer US

Bold move: The actor and comedian admitted his secret battle with illness motivated him to take part in The Masked Singer US

It’s the sixth most common cause of cancer death in the UK – around 10,000 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year in the UK, alongside around 55,000 in the US.

It is caused by the abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells in the pancreas, a large gland in the digestive system.

Pancreatic cancer usually has no symptoms in the early stages, when it would be easier to manage.

Affected people tend to start developing the telltale signs – jaundice and abdominal pain – around stage 3 or 4, when it has probably already spread to other organs.

Eric partnered with Stand Up to Cancer to form the Sympa Fund, inspired by his experiences on the reality show.

He said: “We’re going to be raising funds specifically for research and early testing to help other people survive this thing.”

“And that was kind of an epiphany for me and that was entirely because of The Masked Singer experience, and I’m so grateful to them.”

Writing on his Twitter, with a link to Stand Up To Cancer, he said: “I did the masked singer because I wanted to see if I could still do it after surviving pancreatic cancer.

“My life was saved by early detection and surgery. Now I’m starting the Bright Side Fund to raise money to help save others.

WHAT IS PANCREATIC CANCER?

Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest forms of the disease and around 95% of people who get it die from it.

Joan Crawford, Patrick Swayze and Luciano Pavarotti all died of pancreatic cancer.

It’s the sixth most common cause of cancer death in the UK – around 10,000 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year in the UK, alongside around 55,000 in the US.

WHAT IS THE CAUSE?

It is caused by the abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells in the pancreas, a large gland in the digestive system.

WHO HAS THE HIGHEST RISK?

Most cases (90%) concern people over 55 years of age.

About half of all new cases occur in people aged 75 or older.

One in 10 cases is attributed to genetics.

Other possible causes include age, smoking, and other health conditions, including diabetes.

WHY IS IT SO DEADLY?

There is no screening method for pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic cancer usually has no symptoms in the early stages, when it would be easier to manage.

Affected people tend to start developing the telltale signs – jaundice and abdominal pain – around stage 3 or 4, when it has probably already spread to other organs.

WHAT ARE THE TREATMENT OPTIONS?

The only effective treatment is removal of the pancreas.

This proves largely ineffective for those whose cancer has spread to other organs.

In these cases, palliative care is advised to relieve their pain at the end of life.

Origin: | Dailymail.co.uk


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