A star of the popular daytime soap opera "The Young and The Restless" recently revealed that he was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year but is now in remission following successful surgery and treatment.
According to Fox News, Y&R star Christian LeBlanc, 65, who plays the character Michael Baldwin, recently spoke publicly about his battle with the form of blood cancer known as multiple myeloma.
The Daytime Emmy Award-winning actor further revealed that he was first alerted to the fact that something was wrong when fans of the show noticed things were different with his eyes, which prompted him to see a doctor and eventually led to the discovery and diagnosis of cancer.
On Tuesday, the New Orleans, Louisiana native sat down for an interview with local CBS affiliate WWL-TV and noted his cancer and how "the fans caught it" by spotting changes to his eyes, though he acknowledged in retrospect that he had unknowingly been suffering disease symptoms on the show's set.
"They put my wedding ring on, Lauren and Michael's wedding ring, and I put my hand down, and the ring fell off without friction," he recalled. "I said, 'Well, what an odd thing.' My nose started bleeding on set. Sometimes this eye kind of got a little wonky, because there was a tumor in the sinus cavity."
He first visited an optometrist to get his eyes checked out but was quickly referred to a neuro-ophthalmologist who specialized in vision problems associated with the nervous system, "And so they found [the cancer], and there was a chance it was a very serious cancer. There were options. They didn't know until after this surgery, but there was a tumor right here pressing on my optic nerve."
"It's a very fast cancer, and that is the danger of it, but it's also because the speed of which a cell reproduces is a signifier of cancer," LeBlanc continued. "It also makes it very obvious it's a cancer and easily attacked and easily spotted once you get in there."
The actor added, "But it is such a well-researched cancer, and they have made so many huge steps with the taking the pain out of the chemo, making it more constructive, immunotherapies. But yeah, I had to deal with that."
LeBlanc also revealed in the interview that he had lost around 35 pounds in just a couple of months while dealing with the disease, and was instructed by his doctors to eat as much as he could -- "They said, 'Eat it like it's your job'" -- in order to regain that weight, which hasn't been much of a problem for him while living in New Orleans and enjoying the city's famous cuisine.
He further noted that his Y&R character had also dealt with a cancer diagnosis on the show, and said, "It was interesting. You play that scene where you hear the word, just the word in a doctor's office, 'cancer.' And I got to play that as Michael Baldwin."
The good news, according to People magazine, is that LeBlanc is now slated to make a return to the show he has been involved with since 1991 in time for a special Thanksgiving episode now that he is in remission and recovering.
The outlet also noted that fellow Y&R star Eric Braeden, 80, who has played main character Victor Newman for 40 years, is also on the road to recovery from prostate cancer after being declared cancer-free in August.
According to the Mayo Clinic, multiple myeloma is a type of cancer that forms in white blood plasma cells and, rather than produce antibodies necessary to fight off infections, instead makes unhelpful proteins and more cancer cells that tend to build up in bone marrow and can cause a variety of other potentially deadly complications.
The actual cause of multiple myeloma remains unknown at this time, but as LeBlanc suggested in his interview, plenty is now known about the symptoms and treatment of the disease as well as the possible complications that can arise, including anemia, increased infections, and problems with bones and kidneys.