Dolph Lundgren Reveals He Has Been Privately Battling Cancer for 8 Years – In an interview with journalist Graham Bensinger for his show “In Depth With Graham Bensinger,” published on Wednesday, Dolph Lundgren, aged 65, disclosed for the first time that he has been privately fighting kidney cancer for the past eight years.
“This is just the first time I’ve spoken about it. So if you can save one person’s life who was in my situation then it’s worth it, for sure,” he said. The Swedish actor told Bensinger that doctors in Los Angeles found a cancerous tumor in his kidney in 2015. “Then I did scans every six months.”
“Then you do it every year and it was fine for five years,” explained Lundgren. “In 2020, I was back in Sweden and had some kind of acid reflux. So I did an MRI, and they found that there were a few more tumors around that area.” After he underwent surgery, during which six tumors were removed, Lundgren recalled: “There’s a picture that I was going to direct and star in that was starting in the fall. The doctor called me when I was in Alabama ready to shoot and said, ‘They found one more tumor in the liver.'”
“At that point, it started to hit me that this is kind of something serious,” he continued. “They did a scan to prepare for surgery. And the surgeon called me and said, ‘No, it’s grown now. It’s too big. We can’t take it out. It’s like the size of a small lemon.'”
Explaining that he then had to undergo systemic therapy, the Rocky IV star said, “But then I started getting these side effects where I got diarrhea, and so I lost a lot of weight.” “And that wasn’t very nice for myself for you know, my poor fiancée (Emma Krokdal,) who suffered through that,” he added.
But when he arrived in London to film The Expendables 4 and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom in the fall of 2021, Lundgren shared, “The problem was that the doctor over there (Cedars) wasn’t really sharing information with us. We didn’t really know what was going on.”
“I didn’t hear from the people at Cedars for six months. They never called me or anything,” he continued. “I think now, thinking back, they probably thought, ‘Oh, I’m a lost case.'” Lundgren said the doctor “started saying things like, ‘You should probably take a break and spend more time with your family and so forth.'”
“So I kind of asked him, ‘How long do you think I got left?’ I think he said two or three years, but I could tell in his voice that he probably thought it was less,” the action star revealed. “So it wasn’t like I was bitter about it,” he explained. “It was just like I feel sorry for my kids and my fiancée and the people around you because I’m still a fairly young guy and fairly active.”
“I thought it was it for sure,” Lundgren shared. “You kind of look at your life and going, ‘I’ve had a great life.’ I’ve had a freaking great life. I’ve lived like five lifetimes in one already with everything I’ve done.” After acknowledging his feelings of “depression,” he decided to seek another medical evaluation.
Dr. Alexandra Drakaki, Lundgren’s oncologist, explained that the physician was able to treat his kidney cancer by focusing on a mutation that is frequently found in lung cancer. “If I’d gone on the other treatment, I had about three or four months left,” Lundgren said.
“I couldn’t believe that that it would be that radical of a difference that within three months, things were shrinking by 20, 30%.” From there, “2022 was basically watching these medications do their thing and finally things that shrunk into about 90%. Now I’m in the process of taking out the remaining scar tissue of these tumors,” Lundgren said.
He said of the prognosis: “Hopefully when they take these out, there is no cancer activity, and the medication that I’m taking is going to suppress everything else.” Having gone through this for the past eight years, Lundgren explained that he’s learned to “appreciate life a lot more.”
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“You appreciate every day I can be with people I love,” he continued. “You just appreciate, you know, having been lucky enough to be alive and appreciate every moment there is.” Lundgren shared that he grows emotional when thinking about the “wonderful people who could help me.”
“As an actor, you try to put positive emotion and positive energy into the world and I’ve always tried to be nice to everybody and meet all fans, anybody,” Lundgren said. “And it maybe came back to me somehow know what I need to know the most,” he shared. “I think when you put love out there, you get it back.”