Sam Neill reveals how he is staying positive amidst cancer diagnosis

Sadly his anti-cancer drug will eventually stop working.
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Just months after confirming that his chemotherapy treatment had failed, Sam Neill has opened up about how he is coping with his cancer diagnosis.

Speaking with the Herald Sun, the Jurassic Park actor revealed that he was working hard to remain optimistic.

“It’s great to be alive and working in beautiful places,” he shared with the publication.

The update comes seven months on from when the New Zealand native revealed that his anti-cancer drug would “eventually stop working” in a devastating interview with Australian Story, despite him being in remission for more than 12 months.

“I didn’t know, really, how long I had to live. Once it [chemotherapy] started to fail I thought, what happens now?” he shared candidly on the program. 

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Sam revealed his stage three cancer diagnosis in March 2023. (Credit: Getty)

His Haematologist Dr. Orly Lavee shed further light on the 76-year-old’s diagnosis of the rare blood cancer – angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma – which Sam first made public via his memoir in March 2023. 

“The tumour started to outsmart the drugs before we even got through the first regiment,” Dr. Lavee shared at the time. 

After chemotherapy failed, Sam chose to explore more “novel agents”, including his miracle anti-cancer drug which Dr. Lavee said he responded to “brilliantly” and “very quickly.”

“To everybody’s surprise, it started to work,” Dr.Lavee said. 

In the year that has followed, Sam has been in remission from his blood cancer, confirming that he will now rely on this drug for the rest of his life, however long that may be. 

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The actor is well-known for his iconic role as Dr. Alan Grant in the Jurassic Park franchise. (Credit: Getty)

“It’s keep me alive, and being alive is infinitely preferable to the alternative. But I’ve also got to be realistic. One doctor said to me, ‘This stuff will stop working one day too’, so I’m prepared for that.”

“I’m not in any way frightened of dying, but I would be annoyed because there are things I want to do,” he added. 

The morning after his Australian Story interview aired, the actor reiterated that he was “firmly in remission” and planned to remain so for many years to come, revealing that even when his drug did stop working he would explore further treatment. 

“The cancer landscape is very different these days; at such a time that this treatment might fail, we will try something else,” he penned to his Instagram. 

Whilst the news that his current cancer drug will eventually cease to combat his cancer is devastating, Sam has divulged that he’s “not particularly interested” in his diagnosis and has “other things” on his mind, including adding to his already expansive acting portfolio. 

“I’m doing my first, sort of, substantial work for a year. The idea of retirement fills me with horror, actually, to not be able to do the things that you love would be heartbreaking.”

“I’m not particularly interested in cancer, I know I’ve got it, [but] I’ve got other things on my mind and it’s not cancer,” he said. 

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With the cast of The Twelve at the 63rd TV Week Logie Awards in 2023. (Credit: Getty)

This isn’t the first time Sam has shared these sentiments when it comes to his stage three cancer diagnosis, telling the BBC earlier this year that he wasn’t “really interested in anything other than living.”

According to the BBC, the actor only decided to write his memoir after being given the bad news by his doctor. 

It is believed that Sam discovered a lump on his body, an indicator that he was suffering from the uncommon blood cancer, during a publicity tour for Jurassic World: Dominion in 2022. 

“I thought I need to do something, and I thought, ‘Shall I start writing?’ I didn’t think I had a book in me, I just thought I’d write some stories. And I found it increasingly engrossing,” he said at the time, joking that his publishers were quick to get his memoir out on shelves “just in case I kicked the bucket before it was time to release the thing.”

Order your copy of ‘Did I Ever Tell You This?’ by Sam Neill here. 

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