- Sam Neil is a New Zealand actor known for his versatility
- His most famous role is Dr. Alan Grant in the ‘Jurassic Park’ franchise
- The star revealed a secret battle with cancer in 2023
Sam Neill made a triumphant return to the Jurassic Park franchise in 2022 and fans were elated to see the actor’s Dr. Alan Grant back on the big screen fighting dinosaurs. The excitement over Jurassic Park Dominion was overshadowed by a painful secret Sam was carrying, however, as he was diagnosed with Stage-3 blood cancer during a press tour for the film.
The New Zealand actor decided to reveal he was battling a rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma at a later time, when he would talk about it in the first chapter of his new memoir Did I Ever Tell You This? With his trademark wit, Sam opened his tome by writing, “The thing is, I’m crook. Possibly dying, I may have to speed this up.”
While Sam keeps in high spirits during his cancer fight and fans continue to send their well wishes, learn more about his health struggle, below.
Sam Neill Diagnosed With Cancer
The Jurassic Park actor shared with The Guardian that he was diagnosed with the rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma after he discovered swollen glands in March 2022 while doing press for Jurassic World Dominion. After the standard chemotherapy proved unsuccessful, Sam tried a new chemotherapy drug, which he will likely take monthly for the rest of his life.
“I can’t pretend that the last year hasn’t had its dark moments,” Sam said to the outlet. “But those dark moments throw the light into sharp relief, you know, and have made me grateful for every day and immensely grateful for all my friends.”
What Is Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma?
Lymphoma is a term for cancers that start in the lymph system, which are the tissues and organs that produce, store, and carry white blood cells that fight infections, per the CDC. The two main kinds of lymphoma are Hodgkin lymphoma, which spreads in an orderly manner from one group of lymph nodes to another and Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which spreads through the lymphatic system in a non-orderly manner.
“In most instances, doctors don’t know what causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” writes the Mayo Clinic. “It begins when your body produces too many abnormal lymphocytes, which are a type of white blood cell.”
Treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma includes, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted drug therapy, bone marrow transplants, engineering immune cells to fight lymphoma and immunotherapy.
How Long Has Sam Neill Been Sick?
As mentioned, Sam discovered he was at Stage-3 cancer when he was diagnosed in March 2022. The memoir proved a silver lining to the cancer diagnosis, as he started writing it to fill up all the extra time he had during his treatments. “I found myself with nothing to do,” Sam told The Guardian. “And I thought, ‘what am I going to do?”
Sam went on to say that he never had “any intention” to write a memoir, even after living an incredible Hollywood life. “But as I went on and kept writing, I realized it was actually sort of giving me a reason to live and I would go to bed thinking, ‘I’ll write about that tomorrow … that will entertain me,’” he explained to The Guardian. “And so it was a lifesaver really, because I couldn’t have gone through that with nothing to do, you know.”
How Is Sam Neill Doing Today?
Sam had incredible luck with the chemotherapy: he is currently cancer free! He even took to his Instagram in March to give an update. After adding that his health “news seems to be all over the news at the moment, and it’s sort of, ‘Cancer! Cancer! Cancer!,’” he admitted to being “slightly tiresome, because as you see, I am alive and well, and I have been in remission for eight months, which feels really good.”