• Shruti GOCHHWAL

6 Celebrities Who Battled Cancer

Carcinophobia! The fear of cancer.

There’s something about its unpredictable nature that makes it one of the most feared and dreaded diseases known to mankind.

“Cancer” is a name given collectively to any disease where a group of cells of a certain body part start to rapidly divide continuously in an uncontrollable manner.

It refuses to stop and eventually forms a mass of cells called a “tumor”.

The problem doesn’t always stop there. To make things worse, the cells from these tumors migrate to other parts of a person’s body and start rapidly dividing to form a “secondary tumor”.

The cells of the tumors that migrate to other parts are known as malignant tumors. If they remain constricted to one area, it is referred to as benign tumors.

The reason why tumors are so dangerous is because they are excess, unwanted mass in the body that apply pressure on the vital structures such as nerve cells and blood vessels, causing serious damage to them.

Despite its deadly nature, cancers are rather common.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cancers are the second leading cause of death. About 1 in 6 deaths are due to cancer.

It can target people from all walks of life. Influencers and public figures are no exception.

Here’s a list of 6 Celebrities who battled different types of cancers:

Caption : Rishi Kapoor

Credit: foter

Rishi Kapoor

He was one of the most adored actors and a gem of Bollywood.

His best work in the industry was in movies like Karz, Bobby and Amar Akbar Anthony.

He suffered from Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) for two years and finally succumbed to it at the age of 67.

AML is a type of blood cancer that originates in the bone marrow. It occurs when there are genetic changes in the DNA of the developing bone marrow.

The normal cells are transformed into “leukemic cells” and it starts dividing and multiplying uncontrollably.

Due to this, it leads to blockage in the production of healthy blood cells that are essential for the body. This includes red blood cells (RBCs), white blood cells (WBCs) and blood platelets.

These leukemic cells move from the bone marrow and enter into the bloodstream, where they are then transferred to lymph nodes, liver, spleen and the central nervous system.

Then it starts its multiplication process again. This is why blood cancers are so difficult to treat as they spread rapidly and vastly.

What Is Acute Myeloid Leukemia?

AML is most common in older people around 65+ years of age. According to research, only 1 in 4 AML patients survives 5 years beyond diagnosis.

It is extremely difficult to treat due to its vast subtypes and rare mutation and hence there’s no one single approach and solution to this disease.

Symptoms

During the early stages, the person will experience weight loss, fatigue, fever and loss of appetite. Due to decreased production in RBCs that carry oxygen, the person will suffer from anemia and due to lowered WBC count, the body will be more prone to infection.

Treatment

The most common treatment for AML is chemotherapy which may be followed by stem cell or bone marrow transplant.

Arun Jaitley

He was a politician, attorney, and Former Minister of Corporate Affairs of India from 2014-2019. He passed away at the age of 66 after suffering from soft-tissue sarcoma.

Soft-tissue Sarcomas

They are a rare group of cancerous tumors of the soft tissues (tendons, lymph nodes, fat, muscles and nerves) in either the arms and legs or the central part of the body.

It is a broad term cancer- There more than 50 different subtypes that are recognized by the World Health Organization and they all dictate different treatment plans.

The most common type is liposarcoma that arises from fat cells in the thighs and undifferentiated pleiomorphic sarcoma, which is the most aggressive kind, forms a big ball-like tumor of non-differentiable cells.

Symptoms

The most common symptom is the formation of a lump followed by bone pain, muscle pain, abdominal pain and weight loss.

Treatment

Sarcomas are usually treated with the removal of the tumor by surgery. The process is known as “wide excision”. Here, the tumor, along with the tissue around it is removed to ensure that no cancerous cells are left behind.

The use of radiation and chemotherapy is also discussed as appropriate.

Irrfan Khan

Irrfan Khan was diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer in 2018 and succumbed to it in 2020. Being one of the most admired actors of Bollywood and Hollywood, his death felt personal to all his fans.

This rare type of cancer exists in those parts of the body where the neurological and the endocrine systems work together. The tumor is found in various parts of the body, the common occurrence of the tumor includes pancreas, intestines, lungs and rectum.

They are common in people above the age of 60. The tumors can either be functional or non-functional. The functional tumors cause hormone disturbance and the non-functional tumors do not. This is why they get detected very late.

Symptoms

Usually symptoms are specific to the location of the tumor.

General symptoms like fatigue, weight loss, and loss of appetite are common.

Treatment

Treatment may include surgical removal of the endocrine gland (pancreatectomy, hepatectomy), radiation, chemoembolization and radiofrequency ablation.

Lisa Ray

Caption : Lisa Ray

Credit: foter

Lisa Rani Ray is an Indian-Canadian actor, author, columnist, model, performer and social activist.

In 2009, she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a rare cancer. After stem cell transplant in 2010, she announced that she was cancer-free.

It is also known as Kahler’s disease and is a cancer of plasma cells, a type of white blood cell in the bone marrow. These plasma cells are important for the production of antibodies and to fight infections.

Multiple myeloma causes these cells to become cancerous, multiply and accumulate in the bone marrow.

As a result, these cells produce cancerous proteins rather than antibodies during times of infection.

Symptoms

Bone pain, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, confusion, weakness and excessive thirst.

Treatment

Autotransplantation, stem cell transplant, radiation and corticosteroids.

Credits: foter

Caption: Mark Ruffalo

Mark Ruffalo

He is best known and identified for his work in “The Incredible Hulk”. Although it may come as a surprise to die-hard fans, Ruffalo battled with vestibular schwannoma.

Astoundingly, he was diagnosed with this benign tumor after visiting the doctor to ease his anxiety after dreaming of cancer.

Vestibular schwannoma is a slow growing tumor that is developed on the vestibular nerve leading to the inner ear and brain and is also known as acoustic neuroma.

These nerve cells directly influence your hearing, balance and pressure. Thus, can cause deafness and unsteadiness.

Treatment for acoustic neuroma include regular monitoring, radiation, and surgical removal.

Caption : Sofia Vergara

Credit: foter

Sofia Vergara

The Colombian-American actress, television producer, presenter and model was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2000.

She made a full recovery after she had her thyroid surgically removed, and underwent radioiodine therapy. It is the most treatable form of cancer.

Thyroid is responsible for regulating metabolism – hormones for your heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and weight.

Thyroid cancer occurs when the cells of the thyroid undergo genetic mutation and form a tumor.

Symptoms

Throat pain, lump in your neck, difficulty swallowing, vocal changes and cough.

Treatment

Anti-thyroid agents and hormones, endocrine surgery, thyroid removal or radiation therapy. It takes a great deal of courage to battle any form of cancer. Through their fame and influence, these celebrities have helped spread awareness on rare conditions, giving the world a better chance of early diagnosis. Their bravery and words of encouragement will always be an inspiration.

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