John Wayne knew that he was on ‘borrowed time’ as his cancer came back to kill him

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In the lead up to his death, Wayne was admitted to hospital to have an intestinal obstruction removed, Variety Magazine reported.

And it was during this operation where doctors discovered cancerous tissue in his body for the second time that year.

On January 12, 1979, medics found a malignant tumour in his stomach, which was removed during a nine-hour operation.

By April 20, 1979, Wayne went in for treatment of a bronchial condition brought on by the flu.

And, then, two months later, the Duke had taken his last breath in a hospital bed.

Wayne was very aware that his time was coming to an end, many years before he said his last goodbyes.

In 1973, the year Cahill US Marshall was released, Wayne told journalists: “I’m pretty much living on borrowed time.”

Having faced cancer once before, there was a risk that a tumour would reappear.

Cancer Research UK stated: “Some types of cancer can come back many years after they were first diagnosed.”

The charity continued: “It can be very difficult to live with the fact that your cancer may come back.

“For most people who are in this situation, each day lowers the risk of a recurrence.”

Lung cancer

When a tumour develops in one or both of the lungs, symptoms tend not to develop until the condition has progressed.

John Wayne was a father to seven

John Wayne was a father to seven (Image: Getty)Cancer Research UK stated: “Some types of cancer can come back many years after they were first diagnosed.”

The charity continued: “It can be very difficult to live with the fact that your cancer may come back.

“For most people who are in this situation, each day lowers the risk of a recurrence.”

Lung cancer

When a tumour develops in one or both of the lungs, symptoms tend not to develop until the condition has progressed.

John Wayne was a heavy smoker

John Wayne was a heavy smoker (Image: Getty)

Stomach cancer

A tumour in the stomach can affect digestion, leading to heartburn, acid reflux, nausea, and indigestion.

The cancer could also lead to unexplained weight loss, a feeling of exhaustion, and a lump at the top of the stomach.

Anybody who is experiencing symptoms of cancer is highly advised to book an appointment with their doctor to discuss their concerns.

An early diagnosis increases the likelihood of successful treatment.

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