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Henri Lansbury bravely reveals overcoming testicular cancer as he raises awareness

Henri Lansbury bravely reveals overcoming testicular cancer whilst he was at Nottingham Forest as he raises awareness to other men.

The 32 year old former Premier League and English Football League midfielder reveals he overcame testicular cancer back in 2016.

And he is now sharing his experience to help raise awareness around men’s health with Movember.

“Over time, I thought it would just go away,” he says via Sky Sports.

“Mentally draining. Obviously, being a footballer and finishing training, you’re going to sit back at a flat and just wait for training the next day. You’re feeling it and, in the back of your mind, you’re thinking, ‘What is it? What is it?’

“We broke up for the summer and I was about to go on holiday. But it was eating away at me, having it and not telling anyone and just trying to deal with it myself. It came to a point where I felt I had to see someone and get someone to help me out.”

This all happened when he had been the captain of Nottingham Forest’s captain, aged 25, and didn’t want to tell anyone at the club.

“First of all, I just went down the local hospital, to see if I could get it checked out, but they said the wait time was a few weeks. I was going on holiday. I didn’t want to go away with it.”

After months of agony, he then chose to inform the medical staff at Forest.

“They put me in contact with someone to get it checked out and I had a scan there.”

He was quickly diagnosed with testicular cancer.

“I had the scan and they said, ‘OK, we’ll give you the results back in a bit.’ As I’ve left to get in my car, the doctor from Nottingham Forest has called me to say, ‘Can you go and pack a bag? You’re going back in for the operation tonight.'”

He went home and told “a couple of friends and my family” before being taken for surgery.

“It happened quickly. I can remember being on the laughing gas, trying to talk to them and being out. Then I woke up with Kieran Gibbs next to my bedside table, laughing that I had one nut.”

Lansbury had the procedure, which was a success, and is now living healthily, free of cancer, and gone on to have two more children with his wife.

He retired aged 32 due to an unrelated thigh injury, and while he was quiet about his cancer situation, known only to his friends, family and certain team-mates. He only said it for the first time publicly in his retirement statement.

“It was just that I didn’t really want that sympathy vote,” he adds. “I like to keep things close to my chest and deal with them myself. Now that I’m open and honest about it all, I would love if I could help anyone. Even if it’s just one person.”

Lansbury has now teamed up with leading men’s health charity Movember.

“It’s been years,” readying for a wet shave. “How strong it will grow, I don’t know. But I’ll be looking forward to growing it out and I know my wife will be looking forward to it as well.”

He will be raising money for the charity, with testicular cancer the most common cancer in men aged between 15 and 34 but seeking the required help can be hard.

“I think it’s just men in general, having that ego,” he says. “‘I’m a man, I can do this myself. I can get rid of it or it will go down.’

“As a man, you build up this wall in front of you, but you’ve just got to knock it down in this situation. Let somebody else help you to help yourself. It’s a hard thing to do, but once you pluck up the courage and speak to someone, it makes it a lot easier to deal with.

“The mental side of it is so draining but, if I could say anything to anyone, it would be to drop your ego and go and see someone who can actually help you. You can’t help yourself in these situations. It will just eat and eat at you until you go and speak to someone.”

Lansbury thanks Nottingham Forest for the help, support and most importantly the resources to get him urgent treatment, and secondly that the cancer had not spread when he had his operation.

“They offered me chemotherapy and radiation going forward, but I was quite reluctant, just because I wanted to get back playing,” he says. “Touch wood, I had no signs of it coming back.

“I just had to get checked every three months. Then, after the first year, it went down to six months. After that, it was once a year.

“The rehab wasn’t too long because it was the period of summer. I didn’t go on holiday, so I was just sat at home letting the stitches heal. After they came out, I was back running and just trying to take my time to build myself back up.”

On scoring his first goal after the illness in a 2-2 draw against Aston Villa in September 2016, he said: “There was a celebration that signalled that I only had one left,” he chuckles. “It was just a close friend’s joke, but it was a massive relief to score my first goal after coming back.”

“They were brilliant,” he says on his teammates. “Everyone at Nottingham Forest and even at Aston Villa at the time when I was moving. They were all around me, all straight to me. If I needed anything, it was there.

“That was the main thing that comforted me after, on the rehab side of it, that everyone was willing to help as much as they could.”

He also thanks Aston Villa, the club who, in January of 2017, he chose not to let his admission about what he had been through only a few months earlier put them off signing him on a long-term contract.

“That settled my mind right down, knowing that I could still continue to play, and that Aston Villa were still willing to take me, even though I did mention it during my medical,” he says.

“The doctor was totally fine with it. He just said, ‘Don’t worry about it, you’re here to play football, so let’s just get on with that.’ I think that was a bit of a worry, knowing that I’d had that and that it could possibly come back, but they were so supportive.”

While he has pleasant memories of his playing days, he now helps in a new grass fertiliser business, of which he said: “I’ve had no time to think about not playing.”

When questioned about if what he experienced had changed him, he replies: “Definitely. Now, my outlook on life is to just go and live every day as it is. Smile, have fun every time you can and just make the most of it.”

A final message from him: “I would say go and get it checked as soon as possible. It will only help you. Let the experts do what they are paid to do and relieve you of your stress and your worries.”

He also appeared on Steph’s Packed Lunch on Channel 4 on Thursday, with comedian Russell Kane having a check live on air, as can be seen below…

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