‘I was very lucky’: Eric Idle, 79, explains why he kept his pancreatic cancer diagnosis a secret
Monty Python star Eric Idle has revealed he chose to keep his pancreatic diagnosis a secret until he got the all-clear.
Last month, the 79-year-old explained that he had received a rare early diagnosis after undergoing a variety of tests, while helping a doctor acquaintance in his studies into preventative medicine in the US.
Recalling the moment he received his diagnosis, Idle told the Guardian: “I didn’t cry till I knew I was going to live. I just got on with it. I’m British! You try not to show emotions in the face of danger.”
The TV star said that he only told his wife Tania and his children Carey, 49, and Lily, 32, about his cancer battle in a bid to spare other family members and friends from worry.
Idle also admitted that he didn’t have time to dwell on his diagnosis, undergoing surgery just 10 days later, where surgeons successfully removed the cancer after five hours on the operating table.
Now, after three years of bi-annual tests, the funnyman was recently given the all-clear, which prompted him to discuss his health battle publicly.
He told the publication: “I’ve been living six months to six months on tests. I didn’t know how much longer I had. I saw my doctor recently, and that’s when I got the real shock. I asked him how long I had left, and he said: ‘10 years’.
“He also said: ‘Had you been two weeks later you wouldn’t have got to see the surgery; you would have been straight into chemo,’ which is unpleasant and not much use at that stage.”
He has now teamed up with Stand Up To Cancer in a bid to increase awareness for cancer research and recently appeared on the US version of The Masked Singer as part of the campaign.
Idle added: “That’s why I came out about it. I wanted to say: ‘Look, I was very lucky and I survived. And so can you.’ I’ve heard from so many people how much that meant to them. And that chokes me up. That makes me cry.”