Monday, September 12, 2022

Film, TV star Jane Fonda undergoing six-month chemotherapy for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma at 84

Jane Fonda, star of films and television, says her non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is "a very treatable cancer."

Jane Fonda
The 84-year-old, two-time Academy Award winner is, in fact, undergoing a six-month regimen of chemotherapy.

In a recent story by Matt Stevens, Dani Blum, and Alisha Haridasani Gupta in The New York Times, Fonda's Instagram account is quoted: "I feel very lucky" — because of the kind of cancer it is, because she has health insurance, and because she has "access to the best doctors and treatments."

The social activist also took pains to voice that "I realize…I am privileged in this. Almost every family in America has had to deal with cancer at one time or another and far too many don't have access to the quality health care I am receiving and this is not right."

Dr. Matthew Matasar
According to Dr. Matthew Matasar, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center oncologist who specializes in the cancer of the lymph system, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is the fifth most common type of cancer in America.

The defining characteristic of the illness is that it develops in the immune cells, but, Matasar notes, "there are actually over 100 different types of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma."

The National Cancer Institute has estimated that there will be more than 80,000 new cases of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma this year.

Those 60 and older are most susceptible.

As with most diseases, the earlier non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is detected, the better chance a person has of surviving.

Although underlying health issues may complicate a patient's response to chemo treatments, the Times article quotes Dr. William Dahut, chief scientific officer of the American Cancer Society, as saying that "some people have very, very good prognosis — it's not a death sentence." 

In her Instagram post, Fonda says she's "handling the treatments quite well, and, believe me, I will not let any of this interfere with my climate activism."

More information on celebrities battling diseases can be found in "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer," a VitalityPress book that I, Woody Weingarten, aimed at male caregivers.

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