Crack-smoking Toronto Mayor Rob Ford diagnosed with 'rare' and 'aggressive' cancer

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 September, 2014, 10:37am
UPDATED : Friday, 19 September, 2014, 4:17am

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has a very rare and aggressive type of cancerous tumour in his abdomen, his doctor said, and the controversial municipal leader will start chemotherapy treatment by today.

Ford, who made international headlines with his admission that he smoked crack cocaine while in office, was admitted to hospital last week after suffering severe abdominal pains. He dropped out of the city's hotly contested mayoral race last week.

Doctor Zane Cohen said the mayor had malignant liposarcoma, a type of cancerous tumour that arises in fat cells in deep soft tissue. Cohen, a colorectal surgeon at Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital, called it a "very rare" and "very difficult" type of tumour, noting that malignant liposarcoma makes up just 1 per cent of all cancers.

However, he was also optimistic about Ford's treatment prospects.

"The plan will be, initially, chemotherapy," said Cohen. "There may or may not be radiation involved, there may or there may not be surgery involved, it will all depend on the response to … treatments."

The doctor said the tumor, which measures 12 cm by 12 cm, was "very aggressive" and had likely been present for two or three years.

After being admitted to the hospital last week, Ford dropped his bid for re-election as mayor and was replaced by his brother and campaign manager Doug Ford. The latter called the cancer diagnosis "devastating" but said his brother remained "upbeat and determined to fight".