Wed, Jan 27, 2010 - Page 20 News List

Ex-Arsenal striker confident worst is over in cancer fight

MISTAKE John Hartson hopes other men will not make the same error as he did in failing to see a doctor after he first found a lump on a testicle

AFP , LONDON

Former Celtic, Arsenal and Wales striker John Hartson believes he is “already over the worst” in his battle against cancer, which spread from a testicle to his lungs and brain.

Six months after being left in a critical condition following surgery to ease pressure on his brain, Hartson has resumed work as a soccer pundit and has established the John Hartson Foundation to promote awareness of the symptoms of testicular cancer and encourage other young men to seek early checks.

“It’s tough but I like to think I’m already over the worst,” Hartson said in an interview with the Guardian newspaper.

In it, he revealed that he had undergone 67 sessions of chemotherapy in the space of three months, losing 32kg in the process.

‘WONDERFUL NEWS’

“I’ve had some wonderful news about the cancer,” he said. “It came at what I thought might be a horrendous meeting with my oncologist. You just don’t know what he’s going to tell you.”

“But when we went in he was smiling. He told us that the cancer is all but gone and that the chemo had shrunk the tumors. When we heard that, the missus and I were crying and hugging each other in his office,” he said.

Hartson, a father of three young children with a fourth due in early March, recently married his long-standing girlfriend, Sarah.

He is due to undergo further surgery on his lungs and brain over the next few months but he is upbeat about the future.

‘I WANT TO LIVE’

He said: “I was with the kids in the pool the other day and I thought: ‘This is what I want. I want to live.’”

Hartson is also hoping he can ensure that other men do not make the same mistake as he did in failing to see a doctor for four years after he first found a lump on a testicle.

“It was just me being stupid and boyish, and not mature enough to face it,” he recalled. “I hoped it would just disappear. But the lump got larger.”

Hartson, 34, retired from the game in 2008.

additional reporting by staff writer

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