ICYMI: Jurassic Park Star Diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL)


Dr. Alan Grant (portrayed by Sam Neill) began Jurassic Park with a distaste for computers and children, intent only on developing his paleontological prowess. By the end of the film, Dr. Grant has overcome numerous obstacles and grown into a protective role, shielding the children from harm. Over the years, Neill has also grown into himself: a man with a zest for life, a love of Barbra Streisand (in spite of what he feels is awful singing), and an ineffable wit that doesn’t quit—no matter what challenge he’s facing. 

Indeed, he is facing what many people would consider one of life’s greatest challenges: a cancer diagnosis. In reporting from the BBC, Neill shared that he visited the doctors after finding swollen lymph nodes in his neck while on tour for Jurassic World Dominion. Testing found an aggressive form of stage III non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL). 

Instead of ruminating on his cancer, Neill decided to channel his energy into another endeavor. He wrote a memoir titled Did I Ever Tell You This? which covers his nearly 50 years in the film industry. Neill writes passionately about his distaste for neck microphones and his desire to do one thing well: living. 

Neill did lose his hair during chemotherapy and is still undergoing treatment. However, he also shares good news: that he is in remission. Ultimately, he wants to get back to what he loves—acting—and wants people to remember him by that legacy more than anything.

A Brief Overview of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL)

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a form of cancer that begins in white blood cells called lymphocytes. There are multiple subtypes of NHL. To ensure that you’re getting the best treatment possible, you’ll have to undergo testing to identify that specific subtype. Risk factors include being immunocompromised, certain chemical exposure, and older age. Symptoms may vary based on specific NHL subtype. Potential symptoms may include: 

  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, groin, or armpits
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath and/or difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Chest pain
  • Drenching night sweats
  • Abdominal pain and swelling 

People with indolent (slow-growing) forms of NHL may not require treatment. If that’s the case, your doctor will most likely want to monitor you—and treatment may begin if your cancer further progresses. For those who do require treatment, you may be given biologics, bone marrow transplants, radiation, or chemotherapy. Researchers are also exploring novel treatment options in clinical studies!

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn has an educational background in writing and marketing. She firmly believes in the power of writing in amplifying voices, and looks forward to doing so for the rare disease community.

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