Actor Adan Canto, 42, dies following battle with rare cancer: What is appendiceal cancer?

"A man who never once complained and inspired so many."

'Designated Survivor' actor Adan Canto dead at 42. (Photo by Jason Mendez/WireImage)
Actor Adan Canto, 42, died after developing cancer of the appendix. (Photo by Jason Mendez/WireImage)

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Adan Canto, who starred in the TV series "Designated Survivor" and "The Cleaning Lady" died on Monday following a battle with appendiceal cancer.

The 42-year-old is survived by his wife, Stephanie Ann Canto, and his two children, 3-year-old Roman Alder and18-month-old Eve Josephine.

Canto's publicist, Jennifer Allen, told the Associated Press in a statement that the 42-year-old chose to keep his diagnosis private.

"Adan had a depth of spirit that few truly knew. Those who glimpsed it were changed forever,” Allen said. “He will be greatly missed by so many.”

Canto's death was announced on social media with a post to his personal account that included the tribute, "A man who never once complained and inspired so many. We love you forever Adan."

Adan Canto: Whatis appendiceal cancer? (Image via Getty Images)
Actor Adan Canto died after a private battle with appendiceal cancer. (Image via Getty Images)

Kiefer Sutherland, who stared with Canto in "Designated Survivor" shared a moving post to his former co-star on Instagram.

"It seems lately I have had to make too many posts like this one, but I am heartbroken by the loss of Adan Canto. He was such a wonderful spirit,” Sutherland said of his former colleague. “As an actor his desire to do well, to be great, and then do better, was truly impressive and he will be greatly missed. I am also heartbroken for his wife, Steph and his two young children. Adan, may you rest in peace.”

What is appendiceal cancer?

Appendiceal cancer occurs when the appendix, the small finger-shaped organ attached to the large colon (also known as the large bowel or large intestine) becomes cancerous. Due to its location it is considered a rare form of colorectol cancer. Appendiceal cancer cells can also "seed" into the abdomen, potentially causing more cancerous tumours to grow.

According to BC Cancer, cancer of the appendix accounts for "less than 1 per cent of all colorectal tumours, or less than 1000 cancers a year across Canada."

Different types of appendiceal cancer

Carcinoid: The most common of all appendix tumours and slow growing furthest from where the appendix attaches to the colon. They often won't produce symptoms unless they become malignant carcinoids and metastasize to other areas of the body.

Appendix adenocarcinoma: Tumours that according to Appendix Cancer Connection Inc., behaves the most like colorectal cancer and can metastasize (spread) into the lympth nodes and bloodstream. The most common symptom of this type of appendices cancer is appendicitis (inflamed appendix) which causes abdominal pain or can cause fluid to build up in the abdoman.

Appendiceal cancer is rare, but often goes undetected. (Image via Getty Images)
Appendiceal cancer is rare, but often goes undetected. (Image via Getty Images)

Goblet cell carcinomas (adenocarcinoid tumours): Also known as Crypt Cell Carcinomas, this form of appendiceal cancer is more likely to metastasize into the inside of the abdomen than carcinoid tumours; in women it is common for goblet cell carcinomas to spread to the ovaries.

Click here to learn more on different appendiceal cancer and tumour types including mucinous tumours.

How is appendiceal cancer detected?

Although considered rare, appendiceal cancer is hard to detect and there are currently no screening tests available. In some cases, appendiceal cancer can cause appendicitis (inflamed appendix) or a ruptured appendix, which can lead to cancer detection "by accident" following appendix-related surgeries.

In other instances, appendiceal cancer is detected during other abdominal procedures.

What are the symptoms of appendiceal cancer?

Sypmtoms vary depending on the type of appendiceal cancer.

In some cases, there may be abdominal or pelvic pain, bloating or fluid in the abdomen. However, it's not uncommon for some types of appendiceal cancers to go undetected until they spread to other areas of the body or cause apendicitis.

What are the risk factors for appendiceal cancer?

Although most common in people over 50, there has been an increase in cases of appendiceal cancer in recent years.

While women are at a greater risk of developing certain types of appendiceal cancer (carcinoid), men are at a greater risk of developing adenocarcinomas.

Family history as well as certain lifestyle habits, like smoking, can put you at a greater risk of developing appendiceal cancers.

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