Rob Ford to have surgery to remove cancerous tumour

Toronto Coun. Rob Ford is preparing himself for cancer surgery, after learning Thursday that doctors will be aiming to remove a tumour from his abdomen next month.

May 11 operation will involve 4 surgeons and could last up to 10 hours, councillor says

Coun. Rob Ford told reporters Thursday that he will have cancer surgery on May 11. 1:18

Toronto Coun. Rob Ford is preparing for cancer surgery, after learning Thursday that doctors will be aiming to remove a tumour from his abdomen next month.

"I have to start getting mentally prepared for the surgery," Ford told CBC News a few hours after he learned the  surgery will take place on May 11.

Ford had been waiting to learn if doctors would be able to proceed with surgery.

"I got good news today," Ford said when speaking with reporters outside Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital, after he had spoken to his doctors.

He said the operation will involve four surgeons and could last up to 10 hours. He expects to be in hospital for 10 to 14 days.

The surgery will put him "out of commission" for about four months, he said.

The former mayor said that doctors had informed him his tumour had shrunk enough after treatment to make surgery possible, while a second tumour has "pretty well disappeared."

Ford said the meeting with his doctors had left him in good spirits.

"I'm just lucky to be alive today, and I'm just lucky that I'm getting another chance at life," he said.

The councillor thanked his family and the public for their support while he has been ill.

Ford, who turns 46 next month, was diagnosed with liposarcoma last fall and underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Treatment 'knocked down' tumour

In September, doctors described Ford's abdominal tumour as being approximately 12 centimetres by 12 centimetres in size. On Thursday, the councillor said that following treatment, his tumour had been "knocked down" to a size of "5.6 centimetres by 5.3 centimetres by 4.6 centimetres."

Brett Belchetz, a Toronto emergency room doctor, said that if surgery was not possible, there may not have been other options for Ford.

Coun. Rob Ford arrives in his Cadillac Escalade ahead of his meeting with doctors at Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital today. (CBC)

"We would have been looking at something that really would have been untreatable, so we would have been looking at comfort or palliative-type care, so this gives him a shot," he told CBC News on Thursday.

Belchetz said that Ford's surgery will be a difficult one. The lengthy recovery time the councillor cited is an indication of the complexity of the operation, he said.

Ford ended up dropping his bid for re-election as mayor in the wake of his cancer diagnosis. Instead, Ford ran for a council seat and was elected as the councillor in Ward 2.

The dramatic turn of events saw his brother Doug take his place in the mayoral race, but Mayor John Tory won the election.

Ford's cancer diagnosis followed a turbulent year in which he went into rehab nearly a year after the start of a drug-related scandal involving crack cocaine that made him notorious around the world.

He has capitalized on his fame in recent months by selling off some of his belongings on eBay — including the tie he wore the day he first admitted to smoking crack cocaine.

With a report from the CBC's Charlsie Agro