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Jeff Bridges discuss his film, "The Giver."

Photo by: Tristan Loper

Jeff Bridges, best known for playing The Dude in the hit film “The Big Lebowski,” recently announced he has been diagnosed with lymphoma.

Bridges, 70, did not provide details on his diagnosis, but he said he was beginning treatment and planned to keep his fans updated.

"Although it is a serious disease, I feel fortunate that I have a great team of doctors and the prognosis is good," Bridges said.

Treatment options, of course, depend on specific patient needs and details of the diagnosis, according to Dr. Hayder Saeed, a hematologist at Moffitt Cancer Center. Lymphoma treatment always begins with a referral to an oncologist.

Lymphoma is a form of cancer that affects the lymph system, or tissues and organs that produce, store and carry white blood cells that fight infections. The two main types of lymphoma are Hodgkin, which spreads in an orderly manner through lymph nodes, and non-Hodgkin, which spreads in a non-orderly fashion, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“If imaging studies were not done prior to diagnosis, then they need to be done prior to therapy to identify the stage of the disease,” Saeed explained. “Different stages of lymphoma can involve different chemotherapy regimens, cycles or strategies.”

Different stages of lymphoma can involve different chemotherapy regimens, cycles or strategies.
Moffitt hematologist

Radiation treatment is also incorporated into lymphoma therapy as well as ongoing tests to ensure vital organs are healthy enough to function during chemotherapy treatment, he said.

Fortunately, remission is possible with lymphoma thanks to progress in the science of treatment. However, there are rare occasions when doctors discover a therapy-resistant strain of the cancer.

“It really depends on the biology of the lymphoma,” Saeed said. “Aggressive lymphomas tend to have a potential for cure. However, long-term follow up with an oncologist and survivorship clinic is necessary to identify long-term toxicities and late relapse.”

While some other forms of lymphomas aren’t curable, they are sensitive to current treatments and can be managed for years, Saeed said.