Farrah Fawcett is being treated for anal cancer that has spread to her liver and has been hospitalized for a complication from a routine treatment, a producer who worked with the actress and her doctor said Monday.
In separate phone interviews with The Associated Press, Fawcett’s producer and her doctor said that Fawcett is in a Los Angeles hospital, recovering from complications from a medical procedure in Germany, and is “not on death’s door,” as the producer put it.
“She had a minor procedure. That procedure led to a small amount of bleeding into a muscle in her abdominal wall,” which created a hematoma — a sac of blood that caused pressure and pain, said her Los Angeles cancer specialist, Dr. Lawrence Piro. It was “a simple procedure” and a standard one, although Fawcett has also pursued experimental treatments in Germany, he added.
“She’s on the mend and will be going home very shortly,” said her producer, Craig Nevius. “She’s doing fantastic. Her fight goes on. ... She’s not going anywhere anytime soon.”
However, confirmation that the cancer had spread to such a distant site was dire news. The 62-year-old “Charlie’s Angels” star was diagnosed with anal cancer in 2006, and originally was treated at The Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center with chemotherapy and radiation — not surgery as some have reported, Nevius said.
She was declared in remission on Feb. 2, 2007, but three months later, scans showed “not only had it recurred, it metastasized to her liver,” Nevius said.
The latest treatment in Germany tried to address the cancer’s spread to that organ, he said.
Nevius would not say where in Germany she was being treated, just that it was a clinic affiliated with some hospitals. He also would not give details on her treatments there, but said media reports that she was getting stem cell treatments were false.
“It’s never had anything to do with stem cells,” or alternative treatments such as shark cartilage, coffee enemas or unproven “detoxification” diets, Nevius said.
“It’s much more scientific than that. It’s not a fringe treatment,” he said, and the doctors have “multiple, multiple degrees.”
An upcoming documentary on which Fawcett has worked for several years, “A Wing and a Prayer,” co-produced with Nevius and others, will air on NBC soon and give details, he said.
After the procedure in Germany, Piro said Fawcett flew back to Los Angeles because she was eager to go home. In a statement released earlier, Piro said Fawcett was using a wheelchair because it was painful for her to walk. “That pain, which was coming from the hematoma, had nothing directly to do with the cancer,” Piro said.
“She remains in good spirits with her usual sense of humor,” he added. “She’s been in great shape her whole life and has an incredible resolve and an incredible resilience.”
Nevius said Fawcett is expected to leave the hospital in a few days. He said her support system includes former partner Ryan O’Neal, her father and “Charlie’s Angels” co-stars Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith.
“Let me tell you what she’s not,” Nevius said. “As previously reported by everybody, she’s not unconscious. She is not on death’s door. The family has not gathered to say goodbye.”
Anal cancer is relatively uncommon, but occurs a little more often in women than men. An estimated 5,070 cases were diagnosed in the United States last year, leading to about 680 deaths, according to the American Cancer Society.
Meanwhile, Redmond O’Neal, Fawcett’s son with Ryan O’Neal, was arrested Sunday on suspicion of bringing narcotics into a jail facility and was being held on $25,000 bail.
A deputy at a jail in Castaic, north of Los Angeles, was doing a security sweep of the jail’s parking lot when he stopped the 24-year-old, who acknowledged he was carrying drugs and was apparently at the jail giving a ride to a friend, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Steve Whitmore said.
A phone message left for O’Neal’s attorney wasn’t immediately returned.
O’Neal was arrested along with his father last year at the actor’s Malibu home on suspicion of having methamphetamine while on probation for a previous drug conviction. He has pleaded not guilty in that case.