Pamela Anderson to undergo drug therapy

Thursday, July 25, 2002

— Pamela Anderson says she'll undergo medical treatment for hepatitis C that will leave her in a weakened state for nearly a year.

The actress, who believes she contracted the potentially fatal disease by sharing a tattoo needle with ex-husband Tommy Lee, said on CNN's "Larry King Live" Tuesday that she'll start drug therapy in December.

The former Motley Crue drummer has denied he has the disease.

"There's lots of side effects," Anderson, 35, said. "It's going to be a year of basically having the flu. Your hair falls out. It's a little (like) chemotherapy � kind of throwing up."

"I want to do it for my kids, because I don't want to die, basically," she added.

The mother of two young boys with her ex-husband, Anderson also announced recently that she's engaged to rap-rocker Kid Rock.

Hepatitis C causes inflammation of the liver, which can lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer and liver failure. About 3.9 million Americans have the disease.

Antiviral drugs are a standard treatment, and therapy is successful about half the time.

Anderson says she now tries to eat healthier foods and does not drink out of concern for her liver.

She said that she is in good health despite the disease.

"(Doctors) said it's a miracle that my liver is as healthy as it is," she said. "And they said, 'Keep doing what you're doing. You're taking good care of yourself."'

Anderson, who gained fame as a member of the syndicated series "Baywatch" in the early 1990s, was most recently the star of her own syndicated series, the campy detective show "V.I.P." It was recently canceled.