New Dexter Shocker- Michael C. Hall has cancer!

If you thought the season finale of Dexter was shocking, there’s yet another shocking story- Dexter actor, Michael C. Hall, 38, has been diagnosed and is being treated for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. In an announcement today, Hall reported that he is fortunate to having been diagnosed with a “treatable and curable condition.” He has been treated at an undisclosed LA hospital. His representative, Craig Bankey, reports that Hall is in complete remission and will finish his treatment as scheduled. The disease will not keep Hall, and wife Jennifer Carpenter (AKA sister Debra Morgan on Dexter), from going to the Golden Globes awards this Sunday, or Screen Actor’s Guild awards later on. Hall is nominated for Best Actor in a Drama for both awards.

Hodgkin’s Disease, otherwise known as Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, is a cancer of the immune system, specifically lymph cells (lymphocytes) found in lymph nodes, spleen, liver and bone marrow. It is most common in two different age groups- 15-40 year-olds, and those over 55 years old. In Hodgkin’s Disease, lymphocytes are transformed into much larger cells called Reed-Sternberg cells, which have the ability to divide in an uncontrolled manner, thus spreading throughout the body.

lymphatics systemhodgkinsnodes

Symptoms of Hodgkin’s Disease include:

  • painless swelling of the lymph nodes, especially in the neck, armpits, or groin
  • fever and chills
  • night sweats
  • weight loss
  • loss of appetite
  • itchy skin

As in most other kinds of cancer, treatment and prognosis are related to “staging” of the disease.  What this means is how far along is the cancer? Is it localized to one area? Has it spread to local lymph nodes? Can it be found in other, more distance organs? For lymphoma in particular- are there tumor cells in the bone marrow. Treatment usually consists of chemotherapy, radiation therapy or both.

Also see Ethan Zohn’s story, about when Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is resistant to initial therapy.

For more information:

Hodgkin’s Disease
Mark Boguski, M.D., Ph.D. is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and is a member of the Society for Participatory Medicine, "a movement in which networked patients shift from being mere passengers to responsible drivers of their health" and in which professional health care providers encourage "empowered patients" and value them as full partners in managing their health and wellness.

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