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Sam Neill is “firmly in remission” after his first chemotherapy treatment sadly failed

'I'm not afraid of dying''
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Jurassic Park actor Sam Neill has given fans a heartbreaking update about his ongoing cancer treatment, confirming that his chemotherapy treatment has failed.

The devasting news was shared by the New Zealand native on Australian Story, Sam revealing that he was now on an anti-cancer drug and had been in remission for more than 12 months.

Sadly, however, the drug will stop working eventually.

The actor won the 2023 Silver Logie for Most Popular Actor for his performance in The Twelve.

(Credit: Instagram)

“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.

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.

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.

He has been a part of the Jurassic franchise as Dr Alan Grant from 1993 to 2022, starring in their latest movie Jurassic World Dominion.

(Credit: Universal Studios and Amblin Entertainment)

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.

“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.

Sam Neill released his memoir in March earlier this year.

(Credit: Instagram)

Whilst the news is devastating, Sam has divulged that he’s “not particularly interested” in his cancer 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.”

Sam is currently in the midst of filming a television adaption of Liane Moriarty’s bestselling novel Apples Never Fall on the Gold Coast, with filming to commence on season two of Logie Award-winning mini-series The Twelve shortly.

“I’m not particuarly 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.

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.”

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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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