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

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

The comedian feels ‘very fortunate’ that the disease, which has the highest death rate of all major cancers, has been discovered at an early stage and is now in good health after surgery.

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 on earth was that happiness? Well, because it was found incredibly early… before it went anywhere.”

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

The actor and comedian admitted that his secret battle with the disease motivated him to participate in The Masked Singer US and although he was exposed as The Hedgehog on Tuesday’s premiere episode, the program changed. [his] to live’.

He told Entertainment Tonight, “The whole thing was very Zen. I liked it a lot. It changed my life to be honest. I had pancreatic cancer and I was very lucky and lucky to survive.

“It was discovered early. I had major surgery at Cedars and they saved my life, and I didn’t tell anyone.”

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After his surgery, the comic ‘got up the courage to ask’ [his] doctor how long? [he] had’ and was stunned by the response.

Grateful: Comedian feels

Grateful: Comedian feels “very lucky” to have had the disease, which has the highest death rate of all major cancers (depicted in 1975’s Monty Python And The Holy Grail)

He recalled: ‘He said, ‘Oh at least 10 years. You are very fit, you are healthy, the cancer is completely gone’. And I hadn’t really counted on that.

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

Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest forms of the disease, and about 95 percent 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 the disease motivated him to participate in The Masked Singer US

Bold move: The actor and comedian admitted his secret battle with the disease motivated him to participate in The Masked Singer US

It is the sixth most common cause of cancer death in the UK – around 10,000 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the UK each year, in addition to 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.

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Pancreatic cancer usually shows no symptoms in the early stages, when it would be more manageable.

Sufferers tend to develop the tell-tale signs — jaundice and abdominal pain — around stage 3 or 4, when it has likely already spread to other organs.

Eric teamed up with Stand Up to Cancer to form the Bright Side fund, which was inspired by his experiences on the reality show.

He said: ‘We’re going to raise money specifically for research and early testing to help other people survive this thing.

“And it was a bit of a revelation to me and it came entirely from The Masked Singer’s experience, and I’m very grateful to them for that.”

He wrote on his Twitter, linking to Stand Up To Cancer: ‘I did the Masked Singer because I wanted to see if I could do it after I survived pancreatic cancer.

“My life was saved by early screening 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 about 95 percent of people who get it die from it.

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

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It is the sixth most common cause of cancer death in the UK – around 10,000 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the UK each year, in addition to 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 percent) are in people over the age of 55.

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

One in 10 cases is attributed to genetics.

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

WHY IS IT SO CHARGE?

There is no screening method for pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic cancer usually shows no symptoms in the early stages, when it would be more manageable.

Sufferers tend to develop the tell-tale signs — jaundice and abdominal pain — around stage 3 or 4, when it has likely already spread to other organs.

WHAT ARE THE TREATMENT POSSIBILITIES?

The only effective treatment is to remove the pancreas.

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

In those cases, palliative care is advised to relieve their end-of-life pain.

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