Adan Canto death: What is appendiceal cancer? The rare disease that killed Cleaning Lady star

Adan Canto up close
Adan Canto died from a rare form of cancer at 42. Pic credit: ©

Adan Canto, renowned for his performances in Designated Survivor and The Cleaning Lady, passed away on Monday after a private struggle with appendiceal cancer. 

Primarily recognized for his television roles, the Mexican actor portrayed Sunspot in the 2014 film X-Men: Days of Future Past. 

His notable characters include Rodrigo Lara Bonilla in the Netflix drama series Narcos and Aaron Shore in the ABC/Netflix political drama Designated Survivor.

At the age of 42, Canto’s untimely death sparked interest in the uncommon and lethal form of cancer he battled. 

As previously reported on Monsters and Critics, the young actor is survived by his wife, Stephanie Ann Canto, and their two children. 

Also known as appendix cancer, appendiceal cancer is an exceedingly rare condition that has seen an increased prevalence in recent years.

Adan Canto was young and fit — What caused his appendix cancer?

Canto’s premature death adds to the series of actors of color succumbing to private battles with cancer. 

The medical community largely remains uncertain about the origins of appendiceal cancer. In its initial phases, appendix cancer often goes unnoticed, as symptoms like bloating and abdominal pain are commonly attributed to other factors. 

This tendency to dismiss early signs raises the likelihood of the cancer being identified at advanced stages, making treatment more challenging. 

While the cause of this increase remains uncertain, doctors associate it with a similarly unexplained surge in colon cancer cases, particularly among younger individuals.

According to the Cancer Center, smoking is identified as a risk factor for appendiceal cancer, although it is not associated with a familial predisposition.

Appendiceal cancer cases have increased by over 230 percent

One study published by Cancer Journal found that the incidence of malignant appendiceal tumors increased by 232% in the US. 

About one in three appendix cancer patients are diagnosed before they turn 51, according to a recent report. Canto died at the age of 42. Because appendix cancer is so rare — only a few thousand Americans are diagnosed each year — the research is not as abundant compared to other cancers. 

The purpose of the appendix, a small pouch in the lower right part of the abdomen, has been a topic of ongoing debate among researchers. 

Some argue that it safeguards beneficial gut bacteria, playing a vital role in immune function, while others contend that it lacks essential significance. 

In reality, around 300,000 appendectomies are conducted annually in the United States to address issues such as inflammation, swelling, or infection of the appendix. 

Remarkably, individuals who undergo this procedure typically lead normal lives afterward. Most appendiceal tumors come to light during an appendectomy.

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