Dolph Lundgren, the Swedish actor and director best known for his role in "Rocky IV," recently revealed details of his eight-year battle with cancer, the Daily Caller reported. The 65-year-old actor shared his journey on the "In Depth With Graham Bensinger" podcast.
Lundgren said his ordeal began in 2015 when he was diagnosed with lung cancer. He received treatment and was cancer-free until 2020 when the cancer returned.
By then, he had tumors down his spine, kidneys, and again in his lungs and was told it was terminal. "They took out that one tumor; it’s about that big," he said, holding his hands apart to indicate its large size.
"Then they took another the other two they found in another three small ones they found so six all together so hopefully it’s cleaned out, if it dies it dies, it will die I know," Lundgren added. "The Expendables" franchise actor figured out something was wrong the second time when he visited his doctor for what he thought was acid reflux.
An MRI revealed a total of six tumors doctors would go on to remove. Unfortunately, there was even more cancer, this time on Lundgren's liver.
"So I was like sh**t, okay, at that point it started to hit me that this is kind of something serious," he told Bensinger. "They did a scan to, um, you know, prepare for surgery, and the surgeon called me, um, and said no, uh, it’s grown now it’s too big we can’t take it out it’s like the size of it, like a small lemon," Lundgren recalled.
"So now, if they can’t take it out, that means you have to do systemic therapy," the actor explained. He was told he had less than three years to live and should quit working to spend time with his family.
"I didn’t hear from the people at Cedars for six months; they never called me or anything," Lundgren said. "I think now, thinking back, they probably thought, oh, I’m a lost case,” he explained.
It was after he sought a second opinion that Lundgren realized how dire the situation was. "I mean, you kind of look at your life and going, I had a great life, yeah I’ve had a freaking great life," he said.
"I’ve lived like five lifetimes in one already, but everything I’ve done and so it wasn’t like I was bitter about it, it was just like you know, feel sorry for your, for your kid for my kids and my fiance and people around you,” Lundgren stated. However, good news came from the new doctor who found a drug that targeted Lundgren's tumor.
By attacking the specific mutation involved in Lundgren's tumor, the medication was able to shrink it by 20%-30%. "So 2022 was basically watching these medications do their thing and finally, things had shrunk into about 90%,” he said.
"Now I’m in the process of taking out the remaining scar tissue of these tumors," Lundgren added. Through all of the hardship, the one bright spot for Lundgren was a new-found perspective on life.
"You appreciate every day, every day I can be with people I love, and uh, you know, you just appreciate, you know, having a – being lucky enough to be alive," he said. Lundgren, whose career spanned decades, isn't ready to give up yet.
Cancer is a terrible disease that claims the lives of too many. Lundgren is one of the lucky ones, and advances in modern medicine promise there will be more stories like his in the future.