Pavarotti has cancer surgery

Pancreatic mass is removed

singer, 70, is `recovering well,' his manager says

July 08, 2006|By TIM SMITH | TIM SMITH,SUN REPORTER

Luciano Pavarotti, the Italian tenor who has enjoyed enormous popularity worldwide for more then three decades, underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer within the past week and has canceled all remaining 2006 concerts.

In a statement yesterday to the Associated Press, Pavarotti's manager, Terri Robson, described the 70-year-old singer as "recovering well" at a New York hospital that she declined to identify.

"A malignant pancreatic mass" was removed during surgery, Robson said, adding that "Pavarotti remains under the care of a team of doctors in New York and will undergo a course of treatment over the coming months. His physicians are encouraged by the physical and emotional resilience of their patient."

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most malignant and most difficult cancers to treat. Although studies indicate a five-year survival rate of less than 4 percent for patients in whom the cancer is diagnosed, the survival chances improve considerably when the cancer is contained and surgically removed, and that appears to be the case with Pavarotti.

"That means he has a chance for long-term survival," Dr. Dan Laheru, an oncologist at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center in Baltimore, told the Associated Press.

Laheru said that 15 percent to 20 percent of patients with pancreatic cancer who have had surgery are alive five years after the diagnosis.

"The fact that [Pavarotti] had surgery suggests his disease was localized, and the outlook is more optimistic," said Dr. Len Lichtenfeld of the American Cancer Society.

Pavarotti, who retired from the opera stage in 2004, embarked on a multiyear international farewell concert tour in 2005. He canceled several dates because of health problems, including back surgery.

A concert scheduled for last month at the Verizon Center in Washington was rescheduled for Oct. 31 and has now been canceled.

"It is anticipated that tour plans will recommence in early 2007," Robson said.

tim.smith@baltsun.com

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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