Troubled Toronto mayor Ford has rare cancer

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Toronto mayor Rob Ford will undergo 40 days of chemotherapy to treat a rare and difficult-to-beat cancer that forced him to do what months of scandals over drug and alcohol abuse could not – drop his bid for re-election.

Dr Zane Cohen, a colorectal surgeon at Mount Sinai hospital, said Mr Ford has a malignant liposarcoma.

Mr Ford, who has been in hospital for a week with a tumour in his abdomen, announced on Friday that he was pulling out of the October 27 race and his brother Doug would run in his place.

Dr Cohen said the cancer was spreading and that they had found “a small nodule in the buttock” near the left hip. He said the mayor will be treated with fairly intensive chemotherapeutic agents within the next two days.

He said Mr Ford had a CT scan in 2011 and there was no sign of the tumour then. “But we’re treating this very aggressively in order to eradicate the tumour.”

Mr Ford, 45, has been engulfed in controversy since the Toronto Star and the US website Gawker last year reported the existence of a video apparently showing the mayor inhaling from a crack pipe.

After months of denials, he finally admitted to using crack but adamantly refused to resign, even after Toronto’s City Council stripped him of most of his powers. A stream of revelations of erratic behaviour, public drunkenness – and a report of another crack video – finally prompted him to enter rehab earlier this year. He returned to work and campaigning in June.

Doug Ford, a city councillor who has been his brother’s most aggressive defender, is expected to face an uphill battle against two other major candidates in the mayoral election. He said the mayor was crushed.

“My brother has been diagnosed with cancer and I can’t begin to share how devastating this has been for Rob and our family,” Doug Ford said in a statement. “He is an incredible person, husband, father, brother and son and he remains upbeat and determined to fight this.”