Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has been diagnosed with a rare and “fairly aggressive” type of malignant tumour, the doctor overseeing his care announced Wednesday.
Dr. Zane Cohen, a colorectal surgeon at Mount Sinai Hospital, said Ford was diagnosed with pleomorphic liposarcoma, a type of cancer found in soft, fatty tissue of the body.
The diagnosis was reached after two biopsies and a “comprehensive medical assessment,” Cohen said.
The tumour in Ford’s abdomen is about 12 by 12 centimetres in size. It is considered to be a "difficult" and aggressive tumour that must have grown over the last three years, since it didn’t show up on a scan the mayor had in 2011, when he was treated for kidney stones, Cohen said.
“We think it's a fairly aggressive tumour, mainly because these types of tumours are often slow growing,” Cohen told reporters.
However, doctors are optimistic about Ford’s treatment, Cohen said.
“We are treating this very aggressively in order to eradicate the tumour,” he said.
The cancer has not spread to any organs, but another, much smaller, tumour was found in the mayor’s buttock, behind the left hip, Cohen said. That tumour is about two centimetres long.
Ford will begin chemotherapy within the next 48 hours. He will be treated for three days at Mount Sinai and will likely go home for about 17 days before returning for another round of chemo, Cohen said.
Cohen said Ford “may or may not” undergo radiation or surgery after chemo. Doctors are hoping to shrink the tumour with “intense chemotherapeutic agents,” and then see how the mayor progresses from there.
Liposarcomas comprise about one per cent of all cancers. Cohen said it’s difficult to make a prognosis because outcomes vary among patients.