Action Star, Iconic 'Rocky' Villain Reveals Multiple Cancer Diagnoses - He Was Given Only Years to Live
The powerful action film actor who starred as the villain Drago in “Rocky IV” revealed that he has waged an eight-year battle that until recently he expected to lose.
Dolph Lundgren told the story during an episode of “In Depth with Graham Bensinger,” parts of which were posted to YouTube.
Lundgren said a tumor was removed in 2015.
“Then I did scans every six months. Then you do it every year, and it was fine, you know, for five years. In 2020, I was back in Sweden and had some kind of acid reflux. I didn’t know what it was. So, I did an MRI … and they found that there were a few more tumors around that area,” he said.
But that was not the end. In the fall, as he was preparing to direct and appear in a film, he got bad news.
“The doctor called me when I was in Alabama ready to shoot and said, ‘They found one more tumor in the liver,’” Lundgren said.
“At that point, it started to hit me that this is kind of something serious,” the 65-year-old actor said. “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.’”
Treatment led to side effects, and hope began to fade. Lundgren recounted one conversation with a doctor.
“So I kind of asked him, ‘How long do you think I’ve got left?’ … I think he said two or three years, but I could tell in his voice that he probably thought it was less,” Lundgren said.
“I thought it was it for sure,” he said.
“You kind of look at your life and going, ‘I’ve had a great life.’ Yeah, I’ve had a freaking great life. I’ve lived like five lifetimes in one already with everything I’ve done,” he said.
Lundgren said he decided to get a second opinion and met with Dr. Alexandra Drakaki.
Drakaki told Bensinger she used a drug usually used for lung cancer to treat the actor.
“If I had gone on the other treatment, I would have had about three to four months left,” Lundgren said, noting that within three months, the tumors shrunk by 20 to 30 percent.
“So 2022 was basically watching these medications do their thing, and finally things had shrunk into about 90 percent,” he said. “Now I’m in the process of taking out the remaining scar tissue of these tumors.”
“I used to say his cancer is melting away,” Drakaki said. “There are certain parts of his body that are responding really well. There are some lesions that we can’t see anymore. So that’s above expectations.”
Lungren said, “Hopefully when they take these out, there is no cancer activity, and the medication that I’m taking is going to suppress everything else.”
He said only his family and close friends knew about his battle.
“This is just the first time I’ve spoken about it,” the actor said. “So, if you can save one person’s life who was in my situation, then it’s worth it, for sure.”
In a separate clip, Lundgren told Bensinger he thinks his past may have caught up with him.
“I tried steroids back in the ’80s, ’90s. I don’t know if that is something to do with the cancer, of course, it struck me as it could have something to do with it. …
“I thought about it, because you always think you’ve made a mistake in your health.”
“I was on steroids when I was younger, for a while — on and off for maybe 10 years … depending on the kind of movie I made,” the actor said.
Now that his cancer appears in remission, Lundgren will play King Nereus in “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” and also appear in “The Expendables 4,” according to Digital Spy.
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