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Dolly Parton Has Secret Surgery After Drastic Weight Loss

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Jul. 24 2013, Published 6:23 a.m. ET

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Country legend Dolly Parton recently underwent a secret surgery to implant a state-of-the-art device into her esophagus in hopes the experimental treatment will prevent her from developing full-blown esophageal cancer.

According to the National Enquirer, the entire surgery was kept super secret because Dolly, 67, didn't want her family, friends and fans to worry.

"She researched her condition and knew that, without treatment, developing cancer was a real possibility. Dolly always projects an upbeat, positive image, but underneath that she was terrified," an insider told the magazine.

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A weight loss of 20 pounds triggered fear in Dolly that she had esophageal cancer, which prompted her to do the surgery.

"Dolly knew something had to be done — or she could die," the source said.

"Her weight was dropping dramatically, she was chugging ant-acid medication, and she couldn't eat anything but soft, bland foods."

Dolly went under the knife at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., the tabloid reports and her personal physician flew in from Los Angeles to consult with the surgeons.

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"Dolly was worried at first that she wouldn't be able to have the procedure. When she learned about this treatment, she knew it was her last hope," the insider said.

"The procedure was supposed to last just two hours, but it took five. When it was over, Dolly said she wanted to get on her bus and head home that same day. But the doctors insisted that she stay overnight for observation, and the next day Dolly walked to her bus and climbed on board for the eight-hour trip back to Nashville."

However, Dr. Peter Green of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University Medical Center warns that the procedure is not a cure.

"Having the procedure does not prevent esophageal cancer," he said. "She will have to be closely monitored."

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