Jeff Bridges Says Cancer Is in Remission, But COVID Fight Was Tougher

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 15, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Jeff Bridges has had a rough year.

Almost a year ago, the actor was diagnosed with lymphoma. Then in January, he was exposed to the COVID-19 virus while receiving chemotherapy.

"Covid kicked my (expletive) pretty good," Bridges wrote in a blog post on his website, USA Today reported.

Bridges, 71, said he spent five weeks in the hospital with COVID-19 because his immune system had been affected by the chemo. His wife, Susan Geston, also became infected and spent five days in the hospital.

Now, Bridges' lymphoma is remission, and he said his tumor has shrunk from a mass that was about 9 inches by 12 inches to the size of a marble.

Still, "my dance with Covid makes my cancer look like a piece of cake," Bridges said.

Bridges had previously shared a health update in January, saying his cancer treatment was "working beautifully" after being diagnosed with lymphoma in October 2020.

"As the Dude would say.. New (expletive) has come to light," Bridges wrote then, referencing his role in the 1998 cult classic "The Big Lebowski." "Although it is a serious disease, I feel fortunate that I have a great team of doctors and the prognosis is good."

More recently, the Oscar winner said he is now "double vaccinated," crediting that for helping with avoiding long-haul COVID-19 symptoms. "Maybe that's the cause of my quick improvement," he said.

There's been anecdotal evidence that receipt of the COVID-19 vaccine might help prevent long-haul symptoms in survivors, and researchers are planning a trial to study whether getting the vaccine might help with continuing or long-haul symptoms, USA Today reported.

The vaccine can also help people with blood cancers such as lymphoma avoid COVID-19 in the first place, according to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). Getting a third booster shot also seems to help, although effectiveness varies by patient.

"The additional COVID-19 vaccine dose appears to be improving immune response in many people with blood cancer — one of many conditions that can suppress a person's immune system," Dr. Gwen Nichols, chief medical officer at LLS, said in a statement. "However, while vaccination offers protection to the majority of blood cancer patients, some will not mount a full antibody response even with this additional dose."

As for Bridges, he said he's excited to get back to work filming the TV series "The Old Man," which will premiere on FX on Hulu in 2022. He was also able recently to walk his daughter Hayley down the aisle and said he is feeling much better.

"I was able to, not only, walk Hay down the aisle, but do the father/Bride dance with her WITHOUT OXYGEN," Bridges said, alongside a video of the dance.

He calls his "brush with mortality," including his COVID-19 battle, "a real gift."

"Who would want to get cancer & COVID? Well … it turns out I would," he wrote. "I would, because I get to learn more about love, & learn things that I never would have if I never got it."

More information

There's more on blood cancer patients and COVID-19 at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

SOURCE: USA Today, Sept. 13, 2021

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