Actor Irrfan Khan Is A Shining Example Of How To Handle A Potentially Fatal Diagnosis
He wrote, "Little had I known that my search for rare stories would make me find a rare disease."
The 51-year-old India-based actor was diagnosed with an extremely rare tumor, and even so, he talks about how the unexpected has helped him grow. His outlook remains positive, despite discovering that his disease affects only 35 in 100,000 individuals.
Irrfan, who broke into Hollywood mainstream with his roles in The Amazing Spider-Man, Life of Pi, and Slumdog Millionaire, announced the news via Twitter earlier this month but remained cryptic about the disease plaguing him in the post. His only revelation was that he now has a "rare disease," but he chose not to name the condition until an official, undisputable diagnosis was made.
— Irrfan (@irrfank) March 5, 2018
Days after, Irrfan followed up his post with a tweet confirming his condition: he's been found to have a neuroendocrine tumor that can potentially metastasize into benign or malignant cancer. If it becomes cancerous, his body parts that could be affected are his lungs, stomach, intestines, or colon, but the cancer can, in fact, attack any part of the body. It's a condition that more commonly affects men aged 30 to 50, and is usually asymptomatic until its later stages.
"I request everyone to continue sending their wishes," he continues in his post.
— Irrfan (@irrfank) March 16, 2018
Irffan did not share other details about his condition, but admitted to the difficulty of the situation. He cites the strength and love of those around him—as well as that which he found within himself—as his greatest comfort, both of which have brought him to a "place of hope." To his followers, he also hinted that he would get back to work with more stories to tell the minute he becomes well enough to return home.
The actor will reportedly be leaving India to receive treatment in London, where he will stay for some months. Typically, his condition requires a combination of surgery, medication, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy to relieve.
A look back at his illustrious career reveals a great truth about Irffan: in both international and Bollywood films, he has often played characters who have surpassed great personal challenges and trepidation:
To name a few, in Life of Pi, he played the role of the titular Indian-American immigrant who rose from the ashes of a great family tragedy, while his role as the unnamed police inspector in Slumdog Millionaire transformed him from hardened man of the law to humbled human being, and his portrayal of his character in Indian hit The Lunchbox, Saajan Fernandes, helped him see life through a more uplifting lens.
We certainly hope that this time, this magnificent talent will find it within himself to bring his on-screen strength to the real world, where his positivity during these trying times has become an inspiration to thousands.