Harrison in 'last chance' bid to beat lung cancer

by MARTIN McGLOWN, Evening Standard

George Harrison is believed to be fighting for his life today after receiving "last chance" cancer treatment in a New York hospital.

The 58-year-old former Beatle checked into Staten Island University Hospital under the surname Arrias, the maiden name of his wife, Olivia. He is having treatment which attacks tumours with high doses of radiation.

A hospital source said he looked "frail and gaunt" and added: "The word around the hospital is that the procedure is the last chance of saving his life. George is very sick. He is nothing like the George Harrison we all remember from the Beatles."

The star's wife of 22 years is at his bedside.

Harrison, once a heavy smoker, developed lung cancer this year after having overcome throat cancer three years ago. He is being treated by one of the world's leading cancer experts, Dr Gil Lederman.

The doctor has pioneered a controversial technique known as fractionated sterotactic radiosurgery which delivers powerful doses of radiation with pinpoint accuracy at tumours without destroying healthy tissue. It is only recommended for patients with very advanced conditions.

Last year Dr Lederman, who claims he can double the survival rate of some patients with inoperable tumours said: "There is no guarantee. It is a lottery. I have some patients who were thought to be hopeless cases and who, 10 years later, are free of cancer and leading normal lives."

His claims have been the subject of fierce debate.

Earlier this year, Harrison, who lives at Priory Park, Henley, was reported to have had radiotherapy at a Swiss clinic.

Sir Paul McCartney said of his fellow Beatle today: "I spoke to him a couple of weeks ago. He's my brother."

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