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Eric Braeden of ‘Young and the Restless’ says doctors have dismissed this early cancer symptom

After announcing last month that he was cancer-free, actor Eric Braeden is eager to return to regular programming, or his normal life.

“I already am (in fighting form). I kind of forgot about it already,” “The Young and the Restless” star, 81, tells TODAY.com by phone.

It’s a fitting response from the day legend, who hasn’t skipped a beat since he was diagnosed with bladder cancer earlier this year.

Eric Braeden op

After Braeden went public with his diagnosis in April, he continued to star as Victor Newman on the No. 1 daytime series, and he also kept up his workout routine, with only minor adjustments. He still walks, runs and lifts weights regularly.

That’s not to say it hasn’t been a challenging road for the industry veteran, who has appeared in more than 120 TV series and feature films, including “Titanic.” But he’s eager to share his journey because he knows prostate problems can be a difficult topic for many men.

“There certainly shouldn’t be any (stigma)” attached to talking about your health, he says.

Eric Braeden’s cancer journey

Earlier this year, Braeden says he started urinating excessively at night and went to the doctor to have everything checked out. He underwent a procedure to reduce the volume of the prostate and treat the problem of frequent urination.

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“It worked for a while, and then it started again. Apparently the prostate had grown back and was once again doing its job on the urethra,” Braeden explains.

The star went to the urologist again and the doctor made a wrong diagnosis and said that there was nothing to worry about. However, four months later, Braeden could no longer urinate.

“It’s a scary feeling,” he remembers.

Braeden sought a second opinion from another doctor, who further examined the lining of his bladder and discovered cancer. He then underwent another procedure to remove the cancer and waited for a biopsy to come back to determine next steps.

The biopsy revealed high-grade cancer cells, meaning the cells were more abnormal and likely aggressive, so Braeden had to undergo immunotherapy treatments for six weeks. Even then he kept his positive attitude.

“It’s really only uncomfortable on the day itself. It’s not a big deal. It burns a lot that day, and you take a little pill to reduce the burning,” he says.

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Afterwards, Braeden’s medical team checked things again and found no remaining signs of cancer.

“But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be vigilant,” Braeden explains, adding that his team recommended he undergo three more doses of immunotherapy.

The actor describes the entire process as “manageable” and says he appreciates how “fascinating” medicine is.

“I have enormous respect for medicine, because you realize that it is not only a science, but also an art. Why, for example, did the first urologist not discover the cancer, while the other did a few months later?” he says.

Braeden’s medical team is now trying to determine whether his cancer was caused by genetic or environmental factors, as his older brother, who will soon turn 90, had his bladder removed due to cancer.

Going public with his diagnosis

Braeden was inspired to make his story public because of his brother’s medical journey. “If I hadn’t heard about his story, I would have said, ‘Oh, s…. What happens now?'” he says, adding that his brother is doing well.

Once he shared his diagnosis, Braeden was overwhelmed by the positive words of encouragement from fans. “What has helped a lot is the fact that when I was open to the public it was a great support,” he says. “I love the audience.”

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He now uses his platform to remind people to stay on top of their medical care.

“I’m a big believer in doing all these tests before anything happens. Do them regularly,” he says. “I want to know my enemy. If someone threatens me, I will go after him.”

“The more preventive we are, the easier it is to treat things,” he adds.

Still ‘young and restless’ after all these years

During his cancer treatment, Braeden continued to work on “The Young and the Restless” — soap opera actors are in a different union than SAG-AFTRA, which is currently on strike — and he says having a routine “has been therapeutic, with or without it there is something wrong (with your health).”

The actor shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. “I love my work. I am still challenged to make it as real as possible,” he says.

Physical activity also remains a priority for Braeden. In fact, he believes it’s especially crucial as you get older.

“You can strengthen your muscles until the end of your life,” he says.

Braeden recommends doing something physical every day, emphasizing that it doesn’t have to be hardcore training. “Sports have made me who I am. … Early on you learn to overcome obstacles,” he says.

This article was originally published on TODAY.com

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