In 2020, actor Robert Redford expressed his “unfathomable” grief after losing his son, James, to cancer. Having outlived two of his four children, we look at the disease that killed Redford’s son at the age of 58 and the impact it had on Redford and his family.
The Oscar and Golden Globe winner, who can be seen in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which airs tonight (Friday, August 12) on BBC One, first lost a child in 1959, when his ex-wife Lola Van Wagenen gave birth to baby Scott, and he died two months later due to sudden infant death syndrome.
The couple, obviously distraught, performed a small private funeral at the time and went on to have three additional children: Shauna, Amy, and James. However, in 2020, Redford experienced even more tragedy when his second son died, this time from liver cancer.
James, like his father, was a filmmaker and activist who had suffered from liver difficulties since childhood due to a rare auto-immune illness known as primary sclerosing cholangitis.
His condition necessitated two transplants in the 1990s, and he died while waiting for a third. According to reports, the malignancy was discovered during a screening before the transplant.
“The pain is unimaginable with the death of a kid,” said a representative for his father at the time. Jamie was a kind and kind son, husband, and father. His children, art, films, and determined enthusiasm for conservation and the environment carry on his legacy.”
Before his death, James formed the James Redford Centre For Transplant Awareness in 1995, inspired by his path, to produce films to teach others about transplants.
Subsequently, in 1999, he assisted in producing The Kindness of Strangers, a documentary on the impact of transplants on donors, recipients, and their families.
Although most publications said that the singer died of liver cancer, others claim that James died of bile duct cancer.
The Salt Lake Tribune stated, “his previous liver condition had reappeared two years earlier, and the cancer was discovered in his bile duct in November as he was awaiting a liver transplant.”
Yet, because the bile ducts are a series of small tubes that connect the liver to the small intestine, it is not incorrect to refer to the condition as liver cancer because the organ is still affected.
According to the NHS, bile duct cancer is also known as cholangiocarcinoma. Because the bile ducts’ major job is to transport bile from the liver and gallbladder to the small intestine, the severity of cancer in this area is determined by where it is in the bile ducts, how large it is, whether it has spread, and the individual’s overall health.
Dr. Mintallah Haider, a medical oncologist in Moffitt Cancer Centre’s Gastrointestinal Oncology Unit, shared that people with chronic diseases that induce bile duct inflammation, like James, have an increased chance of getting bile duct cancer.
However, because the origin of bile duct cancer is unknown, everyone is at risk of developing it. If you or someone you know sees any of the symptoms, they should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
It should be noted that many of these symptoms are relatively frequent and can be caused by various diseases. Possessing them does not necessarily indicate that you have bile duct cancer. Therefore, it is critical to have them checked by a doctor. This is because, if they are caused by cancer, detecting them early makes it easier to cure.
When you visit your doctor, you may be given a blood test or referred to a specialist in the hospital for additional tests if the doctor believes the problem warrants further investigation.
Ultrasound, CT, or MRI scans can assist in detecting issues in other surrounding organs, such as your pancreas, gallbladder, or liver.
Treatment for bile duct carcinoma will be recommended based on the specific scenario. Bile duct cancer is frequently curable, but the process might be tough.
Surgery can sometimes mean completely removing the malignancy. This is often reserved for malignancies that are detected early and have not spread. Surgery can help manage symptoms in cases where cancer has progressed too far.
Finally, radiation is another method for killing cancer cells. High-energy radiation rays are employed in this case and are frequently used for bile duct cancer, mainly to assist in controlling and alleviating symptoms of advanced malignancy.