The Canadian actor, 51, spoke with Us Weekly exclusively about his health journey “almost exactly one year” after he had part of his right kidney removed during surgery. After a challenging experience, Mathison told Us that he’s feeling “strong” again.
“My immune system is certainly coming back and I’m just super, super grateful. [I’m] full of energy and, you know, getting tests done and everything,” he said. “I’m doing really well.”
Before he received his life-altering diagnosis in 2019, Mathison noticed that he was showing some “secondary symptoms” of the illness. Renal cell carcinoma “doesn’t typically have a lot of obvious symptoms,” he explained, but the All My Children alum had a feeling that something wasn’t quite right.
“I’m really in tune with how my body feels and how it looks. I get tests, I do blood work,” he recalled, noting that he experienced issues with his digestion before discovering what was wrong. “I kept sort of insisting or asking about an MRI and they’re like, ‘You don’t need it. You don’t need it.’ And eventually I insisted upon it … And they found the [tumor] before it spread into my lymph nodes and other areas.”
“Telling my wife was difficult emotionally,” he told Us. “I couldn’t get the words out. … Her first reaction was, ‘You know, we got this. We’re going to beat it.’ … Those are the moments you never forget your whole life.”
Though his particular strain of cancer was “slow growing,” Mathison’s doctors advised him to “get it out right away.” The Dancing With the Stars alum didn’t need chemotherapy or radiation treatment, but his surgery still required “a lot of recovery time.” Now, the former Good Morning America correspondent is using his platform to remind fans what they can do to support cancer patients amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“It is a totally different animal right now, considering what’s going on in the world. And I honestly, it’s got to make it so much harder,” he said, acknowledging that nearly one-third of cancer patients getting treatment have experienced delays in care due to the pandemic. “I’m so grateful to be able to talk about this and the amazing work that the American Cancer Society is doing right now. We’re trying to help people be aware of this.”
In 2020 alone, more than 1.8 million new cases of cancer were expected to be diagnosed. The American Cancer Society is working hard to make sure that everyone impacted by this disease has access to quality care.
“We’ve got to come together,” Mathison said, encouraging fans to donate what they can to help this holiday season. “There’s so many ways to do that.”
To learn more, visit the American Cancer Society’s website.
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