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Dolph Lundgren admitted to using steroids for years in an interview in which he revealed he’s been battling cancer. The former action movie star appeared on the syndicated TV show In Depth With Graham Bensinger and opened up about his health, his contentious relationship with Sylvester Stallone, his use of anabolic steroids to enhance his physique for muscular film roles, Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s stardom, and other topics. What follows are some of the highlights.


In 2015, doctors found a cancerous tumor in Lundgren’s kidney. They removed it, but he continued to be monitored every six months. And in 2020, tumors returned and he underwent surgery. In a video clip from just after the surgery, Lundgren says: “It’s the day after my surgery. They took out one tumor, then they took out another two they found and another three small ones. Hopefully, it’s cleaned out. If it dies, it dies.” That last sentence is a comical echo of his best-known line as Drago in Rocky IV.

But there was also another, larger tumor in Lundgren’s liver. That one has been treated with drugs and shrunk by 90%. “Now I am in the process of taking out the remaining scar tissue of these tumors. The prognosis is that hopefully when they take these out, there’s no cancer activity and the medication I am taking is going to suppress everything else,” Lundgren said.


Dolph Lundgren, who grew up in Sweden, pursued martial arts and attained a master’s degree in chemical engineering and was starting to purse a PhD at MIT before he turned to acting. He had only a bit part before his breakout role as Rocky’s Russian nemesis Drago in Rocky IV (1985). He beat out 5000 others for the role and trained for five months to pack muscle on his 6’5″ frame, growing to a ripped 245 pounds.

Dolph Lundgren steroids
Sylvester Stallone and Dolph Lundgren in Rocky IV / MGM

With the phenomenal success of the movie, Lundgren was world famous and celebrated mostly for his physique, even more so after he starred as He-Man in Masters of the Universe (1987). Dozens of action films followed: Red Scorpion (1988), The Punisher (1991), Universal Soldier (1992). And the roles have never really slowed down. He was Drago again in Creed II (2018) and King Nereus in Aquaman (2018). Lundgren is closing in on 100 acting roles, including a starring part in this year’s The Best Man.


In the interview with Graham Bensinger, Dolph Lundgren admits that he took steroids to more easily achieve his muscular physique:

“I tried steroids back in the ’80s, ’90s. I don’t know if that is something to do with the cancer. Of course, it struck me as it could have something to do with it….You always think you’ve made a mistake in your health care when you get cancer….I think maybe there is some connection between testosterone therapy, HGH growth hormone therapy, and cancer for some people….I was on steroids when I was younger, on and off for maybe 10 years, from maybe mid-’80s Rocky [IV] to the mid-’90s. Depending on the kind of movie I made. If it was very physical, maybe I’d do more. But I heard of the real bodybuilders how much they’d do. Like testosterone, you could do 150 milligrams a week, and it’s quite a bit. That’s maybe what I would do. But I’d hear of guys doing 1000, 1200 milligrams a week and anabolic steroids on top of it.”

Dolph Lundgren steroids
Dolph Lundgren / Facebook


Now on his way to a full recovery from the cancer that was first detected eight years ago, Dolph Lundgren said: “You know, you appreciate life a lot more. You appreciate every day. Every day I can be with people I love. You just appreciate being lucky enough to be alive and appreciate every moment there is.”

You can watch the entire Dolph Lundgren interview here.