OTTAWA (AFP) – Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who earned global notoriety for smoking crack cocaine in a “drunken stupour” while in office, will undergo chemotherapy to fight a malignant tumour, his doctor said Wednesday.
The diagnosis follows a week of hospitalisation and tests which forced the colourful mayor to abandon his re-election campaign and to focus on his failing health.
The 45-year-old Ford only returned to work in June after two months in rehab for drug and alcohol abuse, including the use of crack cocaine.
He was admitted last week to hospital with abdominal pains and a battery of tests showed Ford has malignant liposarcoma, doctor Zane Cohen told a press conference.
Cohen said the rare type of cancer, which arises in soft tissues including fat, blood vessels, nerves and muscles, is “fairly aggressive.”
“But we are treating this very aggressively in order to eradicate the tumour,” he said. “And we are optimistic about this tumour.”
Cohen described an anxious week for Ford after a first biopsy was inconclusive. “Most of the cells actually were dead, and that is not unexpected in a relatively large mass because as it grows it outstrips its own blood supply, and some of the cells die,” he explained.
“That, I’m pretty sure, is what’s giving him his pain,” he said.
A second biopsy on Monday, the doctor said, lead to a “more conclusive diagnosis,” as well as a multidisciplinary team discussion of treatment options.