Eric Braeden is an 82-year-old actor with hundreds of roles since he debuted in the entertainment industry in 1960. Yet, playing Victor Newman in the CBS daytime soap opera “The Young and the Restless” got him critical acclaim and a Daytime Emmy Award in 1998 in the Lead Actor in a Drama Series category. He was supposed to play the self-made business magnate for 26 weeks, however, the audience fell in love with his villainous persona, and he celebrated his 40th anniversary as Victor in 2020.
The news that he shared on 23 April 2023 on Facebook, that he was diagnosed with malignant high-grade bladder cancer, scared many loyal fans. Luckily, Eric’s treatment began immediately, and he’s reported feeling good and handling it well. Here’s how the doctors initially misdiagnosed him.
Eric used Facebook Live to inform fellow men
Eric started a live stream on Facebook only in early 2023, and greeted his audience of friends, fans, and followers. However, he quickly switched to a serious topic. Eric explained that he was initially relieved when the doctor diagnosed him with a less scary prostate-related issue, following his symptoms.
Unfortunately – or perhaps fortunately – he felt something was off, and when he felt sharp pain and couldn’t urinate easily, Eric asked for a second opinion, and a new doctor concluded that he had bladder cancer. Eric consequently agreed to a six-week infusion therapy and felt ‘pretty good’ in the third week of the process in early May. He shared his diagnosis to change the stereotype of especially older men, hiding their issues from the world, realizing that he could motivate others to get regular check-ups, regardless of or if they experience any symptoms.
The problem snuck up on him
During the 13-minute Facebook Live video, Eric said that he didn’t suspect cancer. Instead, he merely noticed that he had to ‘go to the potty a lot more than he normally wanted’ while recovering from a knee replacement operation. He stated that things started slowly, but that the problem caught his attention when he went to the bathroom almost every half hour, making things inconvenient for him especially on set. He also spotted other prostate issues, such as painful urination.
At one point, Eric discovered that he could no longer urinate, which he says was among the worst types of pain that he’d ever experienced. Thankfully, after the examination, the nurse put in a catheter to provide immediate relief.
Happy holidays to all my friends and loyal fans! Without you this show would not be! So THANK YOU! And now have some egg nogg!!! pic.twitter.com/QWTLYo5rJQ
— Eric Braeden (@EBraeden) December 26, 2019
He almost ignored the cancer
After the doctor removed the catheter and checked the bladder with a camera, the doctor dismissed Eric, considering the matter closed. However, Eric’s excruciating pain returned shortly afterwards, and again he couldn’t urinate. He checked in at the Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, California, and received a life-saving second opinion, that he had bladder or prostate cancer. Interestingly, the doctor who diagnosed and treated him told him that he’d relocated to the USA but from Vietnam, and learned to speak English by watching Victor in the soap opera.
The doctor told him that they could combine cancer removal with a minimally invasive operation called the UroLift, which uses tiny implants to expand the blocked pathway blocking the urine flow. Although the offer looked great on paper, since he wouldn’t have to go through two bouts of anesthesia, Eric was uncertain. After all, the doctor was open about having a good idea of where the cancer was, but admitted that he wouldn’t know all the specifics until they undertook the operation. Although he feared the complications, Eric agreed, and during the operation, his doctor discovered and removed low- and high-grade cancer cells pressing against his bladder.
While everything turned out great, his situation suggests that cancer could have gone undetected and untreated. Eric could have ignored the repeated urinary blockage, and asked for a catheter since it helped the first time. He could also have ignored the warning signs and had an operation for benign prostatic hyperplasia, (BPH), an enlarged but non-cancerous prostate gland. Luckily, he inquired about his symptoms and didn’t rely on one doctor’s opinion, although pain was a wonderful predictor of the real problem.
Eric wants to motivate men to care for their health
Eric stated that he could have stayed silent and recovered privately, which many do. He confessed that ‘a lot of men, him included, would not want to know if there was something wrong with their bladder, colon, or prostate,’ but also realized that doing so would be foolish. Hence, he strongly advises men to stay on the lookout for any issues and have regular check-ups.
He owes his positivity to sports
Eric claims that he felt relieved, not scared, although the word “cancer” was scary. He called the treatment ‘manageable’, because he has a long history of playing sports, and various injuries. Therefore, being physically and mentally active taught him never to give up, to train harder to improve the next time, and to deal with the situation quickly and efficiently.
Eric trusts modern medicine
Another reason for Eric’s openness about the cancer diagnosis was his belief in science. He wanted his followers never to lose hope, and support family members going through any cancer-related or general medical issue. He reiterated that cancer is survivable thanks to the recent advancement in treatments, and addressed his message to fellow older men at a higher risk of an enlarged prostate. Eric posted a picture with his three elder brothers in Germany in early May to drive the point home, indirectly stating that family support and sharing issues were equally important as treatments.
Eric will continue acting
Fans undoubtedly remember that Eric attended the 50th anniversary of “The Young and the Restless” on 26 March 2023, shortly before his diagnosis. Additionally, he noted how proud he was to be part of the show, which according to the production, crossed the 12,500-episode mark on the 27th of that month, and has aired over 9,000 hours on TV. According to IMDb information, he appeared in around 3,960 episodes in the 43 years before his diagnosis.
Eric posts daily Facebook Live videos and captions them with ‘What’s on my mind!’, confirming that his diagnosis and therapy would not affect his career. He stated that he loves acting, entertaining, and his fans’ support, and that he would continue working but listen to his body more and not constantly go all out.
With that in mind, Eric asked that his fans not worry if they see him feeling a little under the weather during the immunotherapy, and that he would be in top form again soon. As proof, he posted videos of his personal training sessions with his doctor throughout April and May.
Eric also revealed that he would take a prescribed six-week break in May, then continue the cancer therapy for another six weeks afterwards. He closed the emotional statement with, ‘This bastard ain’t going to get me; I’m going to get it!’ He indirectly backed up his words by showing that he was healthy enough to support Golden State Warriors against Los Angeles Lakers on 9 May 2023 in person, drink wine at the Shifflett Estate in the Napa Valley, and organize drinking nights with close friends.