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This article was published 6/4/2009 (4583 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
NEW YORK - Farrah Fawcett is being treated for anal cancer that has spread to her liver, a producer who worked with the actress said Monday in detailing a more serious situation than has previously been described.
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 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 also has 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 UCLA 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 like 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 Fawcett has worked on 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 anxious to come home. "It turned out that the procedure caused a small amount of bleeding in one of the muscles of her abdomen, making a hematoma, which was quite painful."
Piro, who said he regularly consults with her doctors in Germany, said in a statement released on Monday that 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."
Added Piro: "She remains in good spirits with her usual sense of humour. 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 admitted 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 lawyer wasn't 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.
- Marilynn Marchione reported from Milwaukee.