Michael C. Hall and Lymphoma
- Michael C. Hall is a cancer survivor known for playing Dexter Morgan in the show “Dexter” and “Dexter: New Blood.”
- Hall was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in 2012 after struggling with cold-like symptoms that wouldn’t go away and lymph nodes “sticking out of [his] neck.”
- Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer of the immune system. According to one of our experts, Hodgkin lymphoma is most often seen in younger adults and generally easier to cure than non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
- Symptoms of Hodgkin lymphoma, according to the Mayo Clinic, can include: painless swelling of lymph nodes in your neck, armpits or groin; persistent fatigue; fever; night sweats and more.
Hall, 52, starred as the titular character of Showtime’s “Dexter” for the hit show’s eight seasons, even battling a cancer called Hodgkin lymphoma while shooting the series. After fans were less than pleased with the lovable murderer’s final episode, he reprised his role for the limited series “Dexter: New Blood” eight years later in 2021.Read More
“I do not think it would be a good idea for me to play a young Dexter at this point [laughs],” Hall said, laughing at his older age.
Speaking at a recent comic convention in Pennsylvania, he added, “I think that ship sailed even before we started shooting the show, but I’m open to the possibility of being involved.”
“It’s all kind of theoretical at this point, but I’m curious to see what they come up with,” he said.
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Michael C. Hall’s Cancer Battle
Michael C. Hall was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma after struggling with cold-like symptoms that wouldn’t go away and lymph nodes “sticking out of [his] neck.”
“Along with the diagnosis came the assurance that my prognosis was really good if I just decided on a course of treatment and just did it,” he said. “I was never in a 50/50 life or death proposition.
“It was scary, but I wasn’t really frightened. I was more just interested in finding out the answers to questions surrounding what I needed to do, and eager to do them in terms of treatment.”
This is an approach that SurvivorNet experts recommend to help relieve some of the anxiety that may come with a diagnosis: learn as much as you can about the disease and your treatment options, to help ease the fear of the unknown.
What Kind of Lymphoma Do You Have? Why Your Type Matters
Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer of the immune system and one of two general categories of lymphoma – the other being non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The type of white blood cells linked to the disease determines the distinction. If doctors are unable to detect the Reed-Sternberg cell – a giant cell derived from B lymphocytes – then it is categorized as non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
According to Dr. Elise Chong, a medical oncologist at Penn Medicine, Hodgkin lymphoma is most often seen in younger adults and generally easier to cure than non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Symptoms of the disease, according to the Mayo Clinic, can include:
- Painless swelling of lymph nodes in your neck, armpits or groin
- Persistent fatigue
- Night sweats
- Losing weight without trying
- Severe itching
- Pain in your lymph nodes after drinking alcohol
Sneaky Lymphoma Symptoms Often Lead to a Late Diagnosis
Hall’s cancer news came in 2012 during the production of the fourth season of “Dexter,” but Hall decided to keep his diagnosis private until filming ended. He says keeping it a secret actually helped him portray Dexter Morgan – a complex man with many painful secrets.
“I thought, ‘Well, I can treat this successfully and if my hair falls out [which it did] I’ll wear a wig during the fifth season – and I won’t even have to share with anyone that this is happening.’ But I thought it would be conspicuous if I showed up (at the awards) without eyebrows, and so I made an announcement,” he said of eventually making his cancer news public. “I’m glad I did because I really underestimated how much that would be a source of inspiration or strength to other people.
“Just to see someone who you know and spend time watching, who goes through the treatment process successfully, is of value.”
Deciding When and Who to Tell About My Diagnosis Became a Burden
Hall’s cancer was located around his throat. He needed chemotherapy for treatment, but radiation was avoided as it wasn’t required and he wasn’t willing to risk any damage to his vocal cords.
“When they did the scan it almost looked like I was wearing an amulet, like a chunky chain and then a bigger thing right behind the sternum,” he said.
Hall may have been fighting cancer, but he felt more “grateful than cursed in any way.” He said he had good health insurance, his cancer was discovered at an early stage, he was receiving quality care and he could receive treatment in between shooting season four and season five. When filming began for season five, he returned to work wearing a wig.
“I just kept going,” Hall said before remembering a metaphor his friend had made. “It’s just like having wet pants. Your jeans will be soaked through for six months, but after that you’ll be able to take them off.”
Thankfully, Hall earned freedom from the “soaked jeans” he was wearing. His cancer is now in remission and he has been living life with his wife, writer Morgan MacGregor.
‘Cancer Brought Me So Many Lessons’ Says Survivor Fernanda Savino; It Can Change Your Perspective On Life
Learning About Lymphoma
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