Namaste Irrfan Khan – we are waiting for you

Irrfan Khan, Indian actor and producer, well-known for movies, Slumdog Millionaire, Life of Pi, Jurassic World, The Amazing Spider-Man, was diagnosed with Neuroendocrine Cancer in 2018.

What type of NET?

Irrfan released information on 19 June 2018 indicating it was a high grade Neuroendocrine Cancer – although there is no detail of the ‘differentiation‘ that would indicate a ‘Neuroendocrine Tumour’ (NET) or a ‘Neuroendocrine Carcinoma’ (NEC). There have been no confirmed reports about the primary location. Read his “Note from London” here

Where is he being treated?

Irrfan initially said he would be travelling “overseas” for treatment. Fox News (USA) said that “he hasn’t elaborated on his treatment plan, though he did say he would be treated somewhere outside the U.S.” This has been contradicted by other online sources in India claiming he will be treated in USA. However, there are now firm reports he is in London for treatment by a London based NET Specialist. He has posted on Instagram from “The Dorchester”, and his announcement on 19 June 2018 was entitled “A note from London”.

Is this generating awareness of NETs?

Yes and we in the community should be thankful to Irrfan for going public. However, initially, the news resulted in a flurry of items about Neuroendocrine Tumours (NET), some accurate, some not so accurate. Many commentators made assumptions of a brain tumour based on the ‘Neuro’ part of the word Neuroendocrine, this was dismissed by Irrfan in his initial tweet statement.

I noted a 3000% increase in blog hits from India since the news hit. I’ve had many google alerts since the announcement was made and they all mainly contain simple facts. Some commentators have done their own research and are interpreting and then printing many strange things which are wrong about NETs. It follows that some of the awareness being generated is not the highest quality we should expect. However, this article gives a good insight into how NETs are managed in India.

What happens next?

Update on 13 Feb 2019. He is back in India – no other information is available.

Update on 1st April 2019. He is going back to work.

Update 15 Sep 2019. He had surgery while in filming in London. Surgery was successful and he has returned to India to recuperate. No details of the surgery available yet.

January 2020.  Many Indian newspapers are reporting that he has stopped work for 8 months while he receives further treatment.

February 2020.  He has been working on a new film over the period from April 2019. The official trailer of this ‘comeback’ film, Angrezi Medium, has just been released but Irrfan has announced he is unable to help promote the film due to “health issues”.  Click here – Irrfan is featured many times in the trailer. Ahead of the trailer’s release, Irrfan Khan released an emotional voice note in which he shares about working in the film and the battles brought by his disease.  The voice note is not in English except for the last two bits and an emotional “and yes, wait for me”.  The video has English sub-titles but I posted the main part below.

This article will be kept live as I hear more news of his diagnosis and treatment.

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