Cinema’s Bad Boy Dennis Hopper Diagnosed With Prostate Cancer


Dennis Hopper, known as one of cinema’s “bad boys” and actor of such films as Rebel Without a Cause, Easy Rider, Apocalypse Now, Blue Velvet and a host has been diagnoses with prostate cancer. Hopper apparently was hospitalized last month for flu-like symptoms and stomach pains. He was released the next day feeling "much better," according to his manager.

According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in America. It affects1 in 6 men and the older you are, the more likely you might be diagnosed with this form of cancer. Thus far in 2009 there have been 192,280 cases diagnoses and 27,360 deaths.

The prostate is a small gland about the size of a walnut that sits under the bladder and in front of the rectum. The urethra, the narrow tube that runs the length of the penis and that carries both urine and semen out of the body, runs directly through the prostate; the rectum, or the lower end of the bowel, sits just behind the prostate and the bladder.


Prostate cancer grows slowly and initially remains confined to the prostate gland, where it may not cause serious harm. While some types of prostate cancer grow slowly and may need minimal or no treatment, other types are aggressive and can spread quickly. If prostate cancer is detected early when it's still confined to the prostate gland men have a better chance of successful treatment.

While medical experts say they do not know exactly what causes prostate cancer, they believe that certain risk factors are linked to the disease. Risk factors for prostate cancer can include age, race, family history, genes, diet and obesity.

Research in the past few years has shown that diet modification might decrease the chances of developing prostate cancer, reduce the likelihood of having a prostate cancer recurrence, or help slow the progression of the disease.

Hopper, who just finished shooting the STARZ show's second season, is cancelling his travel plans to focus on his treatment, according to his manager, Sam Maydew. Tony Sweeney, a spokesman for the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, said: "Obviously his health is the number one priority and we wish him a very speedy recovery."

Written by Tyler Woods Ph.D.
Tucson, Arizona
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