Are there any serious diseases in the Star Wars universe, like cancer or other diseases which are incurable?

  • 24
    Well, some of the characters apparently have a pretty serious midichlorian infection.
    – Paul
    Commented Aug 29, 2017 at 11:11
  • 2
    There was a story arc of The Clone Wars about a virus being released on Naboo as part of an attack by the separatists. It had a cure, though.
    – Turambar
    Commented Aug 29, 2017 at 11:31
  • 2
    Can we count death? That doesn’t have a cure in SW, unless you count abilities some consider to be…unnatural.
    – Adamant
    Commented Aug 29, 2017 at 11:37
  • 4
    “This,” Rax begins, “is precisely why I have selected you all. Such good ideas. Such impeccable wisdom. The truth of the matter is, we have lost this war. The Empire as we knew it is gone. Already we were letting it slip when the Rebel Alliance grew in unseen spaces like a cancer.” - Star Wars: Life Debt
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 29, 2017 at 12:12
  • 2
    I recall in one Legends book that Mon Mothma nearly died of a disease. The only cure was a Force user spending hours plucking out the infected cells one by one. Anyone else remember that?
    – user33616
    Commented Aug 29, 2017 at 14:27

6 Answers 6


The rakghoul plague.


The rakghoul plague or rakghoul disease was a disease engineered by the ancient Sith Lord Karness Muur, it could turn most nearby sentient beings into a mindless rakghoul, a Sith-spawned mutant. The virus-like plague, carried by every rakghoul in existence at the time, could be spread to another being by a bite or a scratch from a rakghoul's claw. The victim would then suffer through an incubation period lasting approximately six to forty-eight hours before being transformed into a rakghoul, one fully capable of spreading the Sith-made disease on to further victims. -Wookieepedia

Like with many serious diseases in real world, there have been cases of it being cured in early stages of incubation, but once one turned into rakghoul, it was incurable.

This is in Legends.

  • 1
    That looks pretty legit and very disgusting.
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Aug 29, 2017 at 13:41
  • You should probably clarify that this is in Legends. Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 17:56

The Blue Shadow Virus was an artificially produced virus, created by the CIS on Naboo, during The Clone Wars tv show. I remember there being a three or four-part episode around it. It was deadly to most organisms. Does this count?

  • 1
    The Blue Shadow Virus was artificially modified to be airborne. The natural form only affected water, and was (mostly) wiped out.
    – CBredlow
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 17:29
  • The episode 'The Blue Shadow Virus' is about preventing a strain of a previously-extinct plague from being recreated.
    – Mikasa
    Commented Oct 6, 2017 at 10:25

Hive viruses were a broad category of highly contagious viruses which would remain dormant in the host for some time before symptoms began to appear. A hive virus in its dormant stage is still contagious, and thus the virus could spread rapidly through a group before it became obvious that anyone was sick.

In the Legends continuity, a hive virus was responsible for the loss of the Katana fleet. By the time they realized that an epidemic was underway, the virus had spread throughout the crews of all of the 200 dreadnaughts in the fleet. The virus drove the crews insane and eventually killed them, leaving the fleet abandoned in an unknown location.


In the X-Wing series (part of Star Wars Legends), the Imperial Director of Intelligence engineers the Krytos virus, and the New Republic has to devise a cure while using vast amounts of bacta to keep the victims alive (if I recall correctly, bacta can stave off the symptoms, but not cure the virus). It's mostly mentioned in the third book of the X-Wing series, The Krytos Trap.

  • Bacta actually can cure Krytos. It just takes a rather (but not unusually) large amount. IIRC, it only 'uses' about a liter or two of bacta to cure it (the remaining bacta is filtered and re-usable). The reason it caused such a dramatic upswing in bacta usage was the infection rate of the virus, which was abnormally high (with a long period of being infectious while not showing symptoms).
    – Jeff
    Commented Sep 11, 2017 at 17:14

The Legends novel Legacy of the Force: Betrayal features a man named Movac Arisster who is dying of incurable cancer.

I'm a nobody and I'm dying. In six months, incurable cancers of the lungs and other organs, probably caused by a radiation leak I experienced on a trip many years ago, will kill me.


Another example is Jedi Master Taria Damsin, who is dying from Borotavi syndrome.

It is basically described as cancer, including terminology like 'remission'.

“So,” said Taria, once they were seated in a private booth with bowls of steaming bean soup and fresh, crusty bread. The dining hall’s air was warm and scented with good food. Scattered, cheerful conversations provided a backdrop of sound. “To make a long story short, Ahsoka, it’s called Borotavi syndrome. It’s not contagious but it is terminal. Eventually.”

Ahsoka felt her mouth suck dry. Terminal? But—but—She’s so young and strong and amazing. So alive. “How did you get it?”

“I ate the wrong kind of shellfish on Pamina Prime.” With a wry smile Taria stirred a pinch of salt into her soup. “Turns out it’s the blue-shelled mollusk with the green stripe you need to watch out for. Blue mollusks with black stripes you can eat till you burst.” She sat back. “Just a little tip to stand you in good stead, if ever you find yourself on Pamina Prime.”

Star Wars Clone Wars Gambit: Stealth

  • 1
    Heh, I thoroughly appreciate the edit but I hadn't actually gotten to that part of the book yet. It's weird to find a(n inconsequential) spoiler in my own post.
    – Mara
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 18:24

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