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Irrfan Khan, Bollywood superstar, diagnosed with neuroendocrine tumour

FILE - Bollywood superstar Irrfan Khan was diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumor.
FILE - Bollywood superstar Irrfan Khan was diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumor. Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images for DIFF

Actor Irrfan Khan has been diagnosed with a tumour and is travelling overseas for treatment, he said on Friday.

The Life of Pi actor did not comment on whether the tumour was cancerous, but he dismissed Indian media reports that had speculated that he was suffering from brain cancer.

Khan did not specify where he would be seeking treatment or for how long.

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The 51-year-old actor took to Twitter to talk about his illness.

“The unexpected makes us grow, which is what the past few days have been about. Learning that I have been diagnosed with neuroendocrine tumor has admittedly been difficult, but the love and strength of those around me, and that I found within me, have brought me to a place of hope,” he wrote on Twitter.

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He continued: “The journey of this is taking me out of the country, and I request everyone to continue sending their wishes. As for the rumours that were floated NEURO is not always about the brain and googling is the easiest way to do research ;) To those who waited for my words, I hope to be back with more stories to tell.”

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He had tweeted on March 5 that he was suffering from a “rare disease” but did not say what it was.

He asked his fans not to speculate on his condition, writing that he would share more details after a “conclusive diagnosis.”

His wife, Sutapa Sikdar, wrote in a Facebook post on March 10 that, “My best friend and my partner is a ‘warrior’ he is fighting every obstacle with tremendous grace and beauty.”

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Tumors originating in the cells of the neuroendocrine system are rare. They can develop in the intestines or pancreas and may prove cancerous.

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Neuroendocrine tumours (often known as NET) is a condition in which there is an abnormal tissue growth in the hormone producing nervous cells of the body. Whether or not the tumour is serious depends on if it is benign or malignant.

Neuroendocrine tumours may not cause any signs or symptoms if they grow slowly and don’t make too much of a certain hormone, according to the Canadian Cancer Society.

The Canadian Cancer Society states that the signs and symptoms may appear as the tumour grows or if hormones are released by the tumour, but the signs and symptoms vary depending on where the tumour develops in the body.

Gastrointestinal neuroendocrine tumours can develop in any part of the gastrointestinal tract, including the small or large intestine and stomach.

Lung neuroendocrine tumours develop in the airways and pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours develop from the abnormal growth of endocrine (hormone-producing) cells in the pancreas called islet cells.

—With files from Reuters