Dolph Lundgren was told he only had “two to three years” left to live amid a secret battle with cancer.
The actor, 65, spoke out about his diagnosis for the first time on Wednesday’s episode of “In Depth With Graham Bensinger,” revealing he was first diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2015.
“They found a tumor in my kidney and they took it out … but then they did a biopsy and it was cancerous,” Lundgren explained. “Then I did scans every six months, then you do it every year, then it was fine for about five years.”
Despite getting the tumor taken out, his cancer came back in 2020 — but this time, doctors found six tumors in his kidneys and liver.
However, the growth was too big to be surgically removed, which meant that Lundgren had to start chemotherapy — resulting in a series of different side effects.
“His mouth got really sore, his hands got sore — his feet — and he couldn’t eat anything warm or anything cold, anything spicy,” his fiancée, Emma Krokdal, explained. “So that was a struggle to get food down so he kept losing weight.”
After being told he was a “lost case,” Lundgren came to terms with the fact that he was probably going to die.
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“They started saying things like, ‘You should take a break and spend more time with your family.’ So I kinda asked him, ‘How long do you think I have left?’ and I think he said, “Two to three years” but I could tell in his voice that it was less,” the “Aquaman” actor recalled.
“I thought it was it for sure,” he continued. “You kind of look at your life and go ‘I’ve had a frickin’ great life.’ I’ve lived like five lifetimes in one. So it wasn’t like I was bitter about it.”
Even as his condition continued to get worse, Lundgren refused to give up and eventually got a second opinion from Dr. Alexandra Drakaki, who made a key discovery about his case.
Drakaki found a mutation in one of his tumors that is commonly seen in lung cancer, which opened up a whole new world of potential treatments.
“Within three months, things were shrinking by 20 to 30 percent,” Lundgren said.
Fast forward to the end of 2022 and his tumors had shrunk by about “90 percent,” allowing him to finally surgically remove all of the remaining scar tissue.
Now that he is potentially over the hump, Lundgren “appreciates life a lot more” and feels “lucky to be alive.”