Dennis Hopper and his prostate cancer, Frank Zappa deja vu

Why is Dennis Hopper, who is suffering from prostate cancer, divorcing his fifth wife, Victoria Duffy, after nearly 14 years of marriage? Because, he said in a statement, he wants “to spend these difficult days surrounded by my children and close friends.”

The star, who was diagnosed with cancer in September, has just begun a new round of chemotherapy drugs, reports BBC News.

Hopper’s spokesman said the star and his wife had been “having trouble” and now he just “wants peace and quiet.” His  daughter Marin said in a statement: “Dennis is brave, and he is fighting a hell of a battle.”

Hopper filed his petition to divorce Duffy at Los Angeles Superior Court last week. He is seeking joint legal and physical custody of the couple’s daughter, six-year-old daughter, Galen.

my thoughts

The dual nature of prostate cancer is something poorly understood by most people. There is the one you’ve heard about, the one your grandfather had, and his family doctor said, ” We’ll leave him alone. He’ll die with it, not of it.”

Then there is the Frank Zappa kind. The cancer is diagnosed in September (like Hopper’s was) and then supposedly dying of it in January.  This Hopper situation illuminates the premier issue about prostate cancer. Which PSA is the one that means you have the Hopper kind of prostate cancer? Which biopsy means you have the Hopper/Zappa kind? Why had Hopper not had a rectal exam and PSA exam to diagnose this earlier? I have looked at several articles and have not seen anything to tell me what happened. The fact that he is on chemotherapy as reported means that he was diagnosed late, and that his prognosis is guarded. It’s a shame. Men should have rectals from forty on and PSA’s as well to prevent this. I have seen it as a urologist myself many times. Delayed diagnosis is the perfect storm-men don’t want a rectal, there are misconceptions that all prostate cancers are the same and then the incessant articles on the net saying that biopsies and PSA’s are over done. And now you have the Hopper syndrome, and the 30,000 others that die of prostate cancer each year in the USA.

3 Replies to “Dennis Hopper and his prostate cancer, Frank Zappa deja vu”

  1. Hi,

    Our posts were adjacent in Amy’s column at the “New” Prostate Cancer Info website, where we both offered to share our writing to help others who have asked Amy their questions.

    I find your columns delightful, and I’m in thorough agreement about inconsistencies that don’t prove one way or another that prostate cancer is preventable, eg, lycopene really prevents PCa or that frequent masturbation and intercourse from one’s 20’s to 40’s onward make a difference.

    May I invite you to look at my the companion blog to my book, Conquer Prostate Cancer: How Medicine, Faith, Love and Sex Can Renew Your Life; I would be delighted to exchange books and collaborate with you in some future endeavors if the opportunity arises.

    You can read more about my media material since my book at

    Thanks in advance!


  2. Hi Dr. Hughes,

    I just read in a newspaper article that Dennis Hopper was originally treated for prostate cancer a decade ago and that this was a recurrence. So the actor did, I suppose, have PSA’s which caught it the first time.
    As the wife of a recent prostate cancer survivor, a recurrence always alarms me.
    I just recently came across your website and look forward to exploring it more.
    Thanks for all you do.


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