MP Kirron Kher suffering from blood cancer, says BJP
68-year-old on recovery path after treatment, says local party chief, amid attacks by the Congress over her prolonged absence during the pandemic
The Bharatiya Janata Party’s Chandigarh MP Kirron Kher is suffering from multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer, and is undergoing treatment in Mumbai, according to one of her party colleagues.
Addressing a specially-convened press conference here on Wednesday, Chandigarh BJP president Arun Sood said the 68-year-old Bollywood actor-turned-politician was on the recovery path after her treatment for the disease started last year.
“She had suffered a broken left arm at her Chandigarh house on November 11 last year. After her medical tests at Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) in Chandigarh, she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. The disease had spread to her left arm and right shoulder. For treatment she had to go to Mumbai on December 4,” said Sood.
Stating that in the latest tests, the disease has receded from her arm and shoulder, Sood said, “Even though she is recovering after her four-month treatment and no longer admitted at Kokilaben Hospital, Mumbai, she has to visit the hospital regularly for treatment.”
Took the political plunge in 2014
Kher was first elected to the Lok Sabha in 2014 by defeating Congress stalwart Pawan Bansal and Aam Aadmi Party’s candidate and celebrity Gul Panag. Riding on the Modi wave, she again defeated Bansal in the 2019 parliamentary polls.
Sood’s revelation on the MP’s health came in the backdrop of criticism of her and the BJP by the opposition Congress for her prolonged absence from Chandigarh during the Covid-19 outbreak.
From pasting posters in public places declaring the local MP “missing” to “searching” the MP in the city, the Congress has been accusing Kher of ignoring her constituency during the pandemic.
In April last year, Kher had released a video on social media countering the Congress allegations.
Sood defended Kher’s absence from the city. “She was in the city till December last year. She is a senior citizen and diabetic. She was advised against venturing outside the house during the lockdown. Only to get treatment for the disease she had left the city. Despite her illness, Kher has been in regular touch with me discussing various city-related issues,” he added.
Sood criticised the Congress for attacking Kher at this juncture. “Congress leaders know about her health problems, but still they are repeatedly making it an issue. This is nothing but petty politics.”
‘Advanced treatment has made the cancer manageable’
A cancer of the plasma cells in blood, which normally produce antibodies, multiple myeloma may initially exhibit no symptoms. But, as it progresses, bone pain, anaemia, kidney dysfunction and infections may occur.
Considered treatable, it is generally incurable. Remissions may be brought about with steroids, chemotherapy, targeted therapy and stem cell transplant. Bisphosphonates and radiation therapy are also used to reduce pain from bone lesions.
“It is a type of blood cancer, but manageable. It usually affects the kidney and bones, causing fractures and renal failure. Treatment for this disease has advanced over the years, allowing survival beyond 10 years. Depending on the patient’s presentations, they can lead a reasonable life,” said Dr Pankaj Malhotra, professor of clinical hematology at PGIMER.