Rob Ford has tumour in abdomen; Doctors say more tests needed for prognosis
Sandie Benitah, CP24.com
Published Wednesday, September 10, 2014 6:51PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, September 18, 2014 3:51PM EDT
Mayor Ford has a tumour in his abdomen, doctors say, but it will be a few days before we know the true scope of his diagnosis.
Dr. Rueben Devlin, president and CEO of Humber River Hospital, made the announcement Wednesday night with the mayor’s brother Coun. Doug Ford by his side.
Doug Ford was visibly upset as he spoke to media asking for privacy for himself and his family. He would not answer any questions about what the mayor’s health setback would mean for the mayoral campaign.
“It saddens me that I have to be here today,” Ford said. “Rob is in good spirits and I want to thank the well wishers.”
Before walking away from the news conference, Ford said he was with the mayor Wednesday morning at Perkins where the two men met for breakfast. During that time, Rob Ford complained about abdominal pain. When the pain became unbearable, Ford went to see his doctor who urged him to go to the hospital immediately.
The mayor has been admitted to Humber River Hospital and will remain there until further notice. When asked how long Ford will be out of commission, Devlin said, “I can’t comment on that.”
Devlin said the mayor has felt abdominal pain for about three months, specifically in his lower quadrant, but today it became “unbearable.” A CT scan confirmed Ford has a tumour but a biopsy is needed to determine if the mayor has cancer.
The size of the tumour “is not as relevant as what it is,” Devlin said. “Doctors need to do a biopsy to determine what the tumour is.”
Doctors hope to make a prognosis this week.
Dr. Mitch Shulman, an emergency medicine specialist at McGill University Health Centre, has not treated the mayor but told CP24 that in his experience, the pain in the location the mayor described could indicate a problem in the area of his colon.
The mayor’s father, Doug Ford Sr., died in 2006 of colon cancer.
Shulman said the mayor’s family history, plus his obesity and his issues with alcohol abuse put him in the high risk category.
Shulman said people typically don’t experience symptoms during the early stages of colon cancer unless the tumour has grown to a point where it is disturbing other parts of their body.
“Colon cancer is significant and aggressive,” Shulman said. “Let’s hope we’re all terribly wrong.”
Meanwhile, there was an outpouring of support for the mayor from both his supporters and his critics. At one point, “Rob Ford” was a trending topic on Twitter.
Both of his election rivals were quick to send messages of support.
“While you may see us debating, we are also human beings,” mayoral candidate John Tory said in a statement released to the media. “Rob Ford is a husband, father, son and brother and I want to see him back in good health as soon as possible and back where he would want to be – with us at the debating tables talking about the city we all love. Get well soon.”
Mayoral candidate Olivia Chow spoke to CP24 and said while she is sad, she is hoping for positive news.
“We don’t know what kind of tumor it is. Let’s assume it’s fine,” she said. “It’s aAlways good to remain hopeful so let’s not speculate. I think the family needs privacy and to not worry about anything else. The key thing is health and love and support. It doesn’t matter that we’re political opponents. We wish him good health and get back out here.”
Coun. Josh Matlow, who has frequently sparred with the mayor, said he too is putting the politics aside.
“It’s well known that Rob Ford and I don’t see eye to eye, but when any family receives news concerning someone’s health, it’s time to put politics aside and wish each other well,” he said. “I know politics in this city can seem mean and divisive at times but we’re all people and even if people don’t want to rally around him politically, I encourage everyone to rally around him and wish him good health.”
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