Edward James Olmos Says Cancer Treatments ‘Annihilated’ His Body

Edward James Olmos arrives for AFI Lifetime Achievement Gala on June 09, 2022 in Hollywood, CA. (Credit: Shutterstock)

After successfully battling throat cancer, Edward James Olmos is speaking out about the health crisis that nearly claimed his life.

The 77-year-old actor, producer, and philanthropist recently told the Daily Mail he went through a cancer treatment in 2022, that was so severe it “usually kills you.”

“This area was completely annihilated,” he said while pointing to his throat. “They told me before I started the treatments, we have no idea what you’re going to sound like.”

“It’s the treatment usually that kills you, because what ends up happening, it weakens the body because of the chemotherapy, takes out all your white blood cells,” he continued. “And what ends up happening is you have no immune system. So if I had bad kidneys, bad heart, bad lungs, bad anything, I wouldn’t be here right now. Thank God my body was okay.”

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Olmos added that the medical treatment “burned out” his throat and lymph nodes, and he had to be fed through an IV drip.

After a five-decade-long acting career and a new chance at life, he said his commitment to work remains strong.

“That’s the essence of living. What’s your purpose? And I’m very grateful that I continue to work and that I’m able to do films, television, plays, and theater,” he explained.

The East Los Angeles native is an Emmy and Golden Globe winner known for his roles in Stand and Deliver, Zoot Suit, Selena, Blade Runner, Miami Vice and Mayans M.C.

Late last year, he received the Icon Award at the Critics Choice Association’s Celebration of Cinema & Television honoring Black, Latino & AAPI achievements.

During that speech, the acting legend said he underwent several rounds of chemotherapy after receiving the throat cancer diagnosis.

“They radiated me for days, and weeks, and months,” he said. “They gave me tons and tons of chemo, and hey, we made it.”

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