Ukrainian championship winner died after 6 years of fighting a rare form of cancer

Maxim InshakovSport
The athlete was 42 years old

Ukraine's bronze medallist in the Paralympic bench press, Marina Dihtar, has died at the age of 42, journalist Oleksandr Khomenko has posted on Facebook. Marina died almost two weeks ago, but the public only recently learned about it.


A native of Smila (Cherkasy region), she had been suffering from acute scoliosis since she was 14. She underwent surgery to partially remove her hump and implant bone implants in her spine. She became interested in the barbell and began to participate in various tournaments.


In 2016, she was diagnosed with abdominal mesothelioma. The malignant tumour forms in the epithelium covering the internal organs. It is a rare type of cancer that occurs in one person in a million. Before that, for two years, doctors could not determine what kind of disease the athlete had.


In 2017, she raised 80 thousand euros on social media for an operation in Germany. During the surgery, it became clear that the mesothelioma had developed to the last, fourth stage. Doctors were able to remove or chemotherapy only a part of the tumour.


In order not to become depressed from cancer, the athlete decided to start training in the gym again.


When the war broke out, Marusya evacuated to her parents in the Cherkasy region, where she found herself cut off from both the help of oncologists, who were the only ones who could physically alleviate her suffering, and the direct moral support of her friends.


She tried three times to return to Kyiv to at least consult with doctors. But each time something went wrong. 160 kilometres was too far for her condition.


It is not known for certain why Marina contracted this form of cancer, but most often mesothelioma is caused by exposure to toxic fibres of asbestos, a mineral that until recently was used in the production of cheap bricks. Dihtar's parents' house is located in Valiava, Cherkasy region, next to a brick factory.


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