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Farrah Fawcett's Battle with Anal Cancer

How Farrah is Fighting Anal Cancer

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Updated November 08, 2010

Farrah Fawcett's Battle with Anal Cancer
Dave Hogan/Getty Entertainment Images
Update June 25, 2009: Farrah Fawcett has succumbed to her battle with anal cancer. She died at a Santa Monica hospital with her longtime love interest Ryan O'Neill by her side. She was 62. Farrah is survived by her son Redmond O'Neill.

In September 2006, Farrah Fawcett began her long journey with anal cancer, a rare disease that affects only 5,000 people in the U.S. each year. Anal cancer is diagnosed more often in women than in men and is associated with the human papillomavirus (HPV).

Following her cancer diagnosis, Fawcett immediately began radiation treatment and chemotherapy, which are standard treatments for anal cancer. She issued this statement at the time of her diagnosis: "I am resolutely strong and I am determined to bite the bullet and fight the fight while going through the next six weeks of cutting-edge, state-of-the-art treatment. I should be able to return to my life as it was before at the end of my treatment." After completing the six-week treatment course, the actress was reportedly in good spirits and optimistic about her future.

Five months after Farrah was diagnosed with cancer, she was declared cancer-free. Unfortunately, during a routine checkup in May 2007, a malignant polyp was discovered, indicating that the cancer had returned. Only 15 percent of of people treated for anal cancer experience a recurrence like Farrah experienced -- it is commonly a curable disease.

Later in 2007, Fawcett sought alternative cancer treatment in Germany -- a combination of chemotherapy and alternative healing treatments. She remained very private about her treatment regimen and released little details about her progress. Since being diagnosed, the actress has been a target of the tabloids and papparazzi who have often speculated on her condition solely based on her appearance. Fawcett even had her medical records breached by a healthcare worker at UCLA, so it is no wonder why she has chosen to to battle cancer with such privacy.

She continued to receive treatment in Germany to battle the further spread of the cancer, which metastasized to her liver. Upon returning home from Germany in April 2009, Fawcett checked herself into a Los Angeles hospital igniting rumors that she was on her deathbed. According to Farrah's physcian, Lawrence Piro, Farrah was admitted not because of the cancer, but of complications resulting from a procedure done in Germany.

Dr. Piro released this statement April 6, 2009 about Farrah's condition: "It turned out that the procedure caused a small amount of bleeding in one of the muscles of her abdomen, making a hematoma, which was quite painful. That pain, which was coming from the hematoma, had nothing directly to do with the cancer. She remains in good spirits with her usual sense of humor. She's been in great shape her whole life and has an incredible resolve and an incredible resilience."

The doctor also addressed reports stating Fawcett has been seen in a wheelchair upon her return from Germany. Pico insists this has nothing to do with the cancer, but from discomfort from her surgery.

On June 25, 2009, Farrah's battle with cancer ended. She died at a Santa Monica hospital with her longtime love interest Ryan O'Neill by her side. She was 62. Farrah is survived by her son Redmond O'Neill.

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