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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)

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)

It was because of a friend that Eric got his diagnosis, which revealed that while he was in the United States with his friend, he had been urged to undergo several tests to help his friend – a doctor – in his study of preventive medicine.

He was told the diagnosis by his friend, who told him there was a good chance of clearing the cancer because of the rare early diagnosis.

While encouraged by positive news about his diagnosis, Eric recalled that his wife Tania, whom he has been married to for 41 years, went out into the yard and cried when he told her.

He revealed: “I tell her early on that she’s not British in any way and that tears, and even other expressions of emotion, are quite acceptable. She can cry. She can come for a hug. Always, night or day.’

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)

Next came the task of telling their children, Carey, 49, and Lily, 32.

Eric recalled, “My son is brave and very encouraging. He immediately offers to fly in from Australia… [Lily] shunned me as if instinct is warning her.’

The Grammy-nominated artist added that he chose not to tell his friends about his diagnosis until he received the statement so as not to worry them.

The actor and comedian also admitted that his secret battle with the disease motivated him to participate in The Masked Singer US and although he was unmasked 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.”

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

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.’

Heartbreaking: Eric recalled that his wife Tania, whom he has been married to for 41 years, went into the garden and cried when he told her (pictured in 2018)

Heartbreaking: Eric recalled that his wife Tania, whom he has been married to for 41 years, went into the garden and cried when he told her (pictured in 2018)

Heartbreaking: Eric recalled that his wife Tania, whom he has been married to for 41 years, went into the garden and cried when he told her (pictured in 2018)

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.”

Writing on his Twitter, with a link to Stand up against cancerhe said: ‘I did the Masked Singer because I wanted to see if I could still 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.

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.