- Actor Jeff Bridges beat lymphoma following treatment, and he also beat Covid-19. The actor is recalling in a new interview his five favorite films he ever made.
- The Crazy Heart actor was treated with chemotherapy. Additional lymphoma treatments may include a protocol called active surveillance, radiation, and bone marrow transplant.
- Lymphoma is a cancer of the immune system that affects infection-fighting cells called lymphocytes. And there are more than 40 different types of lymphoma.
- The two main types of lymphoma are Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is more common, and you're more likely to be diagnosed with it after age 55.
Bridges also has fond memories of Tideland, another 2005 film which focuses on a child in rural Texas who’s isolated after the death of her parents who are drug addicts. Bridges recalls, "This one was very low-tech and not a giant budget movie. It's based on a great book with the same title by Mitch Cullin, and very, very surreal. I'd even stretch it and say it's the weirdest movie that Terry has ever made, for my tastes (although everyone's got different tastes). But it's macabre."
Bridges also cites The Last Pictures Show, a 1971 drama film directed by Peter Bogdanovich featuring the story of two high school friends. Bridges says, "For me, that's a movie that is kind of like no other movie, and no other movie is like it. It just kind of sits there by itself."
And Bridges recalls his 2009 movie Crazy Heart from director Scott Cooper. The film is based on a 1987 Thomas Cobb novel of the same name. Bridges tells Rotten Tomatoes that he was "thankful" to be in that film. And lastly, he mentions Bad Company, another film he made in the 1970s 1972, to be exact as one of his favorite films. It was directed by Robert Benton and is set amid the Civil War.
Bridges' Battle with Lymphoma & Treatment Methods
In an earlier interview with SurvivorNet, Dr. Julie Vose, Professor of Internal Medicine, Division of Oncology & Hematology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, explains that the type of lymphoma will determine the treatment path. Dr. Vose says, “Once your doctor has identified which type of lymphoma you have, you'll talk about treatments.”
Dr. Vose explains, “Which therapy your doctor recommends will depend on your cancer type, where it is in your body, and how aggressive it is. Make sure you understand why your doctor has suggested a particular treatment and how it might help you before moving forward.”
Treatment methods for lymphoma, like the kind Bridges was diagnosed with, can be approached extra aggressively in some instances. The course of treatment will be determined by your medical team. Bridges first shared his cancer diagnosis with the world in October 2020 on social media. He announced the diagnosis, writing, "I have a great team of doctors, and the prognosis is good."
Bridges treated his lymphoma with chemotherapy by infusion, which led to the tumor shrinking. His chemotherapy by infusion was followed by oral chemo, PEOPLE reports. “They got a cocktail that worked, and oh man, it worked fast. That thing just imploded,” Bridges tells the magazine.
The actor regularly kept fans updated throughout his cancer journey with a colorful online journal and on social media.
According to experts, lymphoma treatments can include:
- Active surveillance: This means that your doctor might wait to begin treatment until the disease’s symptoms begin interfering with daily life. Surveillance includes tests to monitor the progression of the disease.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is used to treat many cancers, including lymphoma. It destroys cancer cells, and chemotherapy is typically administered intravenously or it can be taken as a pill.
- Radiation: Radiation involves the use of high-powered energy beams like X-rays to destroy cancer cells.
- Bone marrow transplant: A bone marrow transplant which is sometimes called a stem cell transplant uses high doses of chemo and radiation to suppress the body’s bone marrow.
- Additional treatments: Other drugs that can treat lymphoma included targeted drugs focusing on cancer cell abnormalities. Immunotherapy activates the immune system to destroy the cancer cells, and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell therapy uses specially manufactured, personalized T-cells to fight cancer. More information is here.
In September 2021, the actor shared on his blog that he'd entered remission. He shared that "the 9" x 12" mass has shrunk down to the size of a marble."
Bridges also suffered after contracting Covid in the midst of his cancer battle. "Covid kicked my ass pretty good, but I'm double vaccinated and feeling much better now." He contracted Covid-19 in January 2021, and his immune system was weakened due to cancer treatments, so the virus had a strong impact on him.
“I had no defenses. That’s what chemo does it strips you of all your immune system. I had nothing to fight it,” he tells the publication. “COVID made my cancer look like nothing.”
Distinctions Among Lymphoma Types?
Bridges did not share what kind of lymphoma he was was diagnosed with, however, it’s likely that he was diagnosed with one of the two most common types Hodgkin or non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Lymphoma is a cancer of the immune system that affects infection-fighting cells called lymphocytes. And there are more than 40 different types of lymphoma.
"Lymphoma is split up into a number of different categories," Dr. Elise Chong, a medical oncologist at Penn Medicine, previously told SurvivorNet in an earlier interview.
"The first distinguishing breakpoint, if you will, is non-Hodgkin lymphoma versus Hodgkin lymphoma," she added, "and those sound like two different categories. But non-Hodgkin lymphoma comprises the majority of lymphoma, and Hodgkin lymphoma is a single specific type of lymphoma."
Hodgkin lymphoma has distinctive, giant cells called Reed-Sternberg cells. The presence of these cells, which can be seen under a microscope, will help your doctor determine which of the two lymphoma types you have.
There are a few other important differences between non-Hodgkin lymphoma and Hodgkin lymphoma to note. For one thing, non-Hodgkin lymphoma is much more common. And you're more likely to be diagnosed with it after age 55, like Jeff Bridges. People usually develop Hodgkin lymphoma at a younger age.
It should be noted that another difference between these two types of lymphoma is that non-Hodgkin lymphoma is more likely to spread in a random fashion and be found in different groups of lymph nodes in the body, while Hodgkin lymphoma is more likely to grow in a uniform way from one group of lymph nodes directly to another.
These two different types of lymphoma behave, spread and respond to treatment differently, so it's important for you to know which type you have.