The Young and the Restless star Christian LeBlanc (Michael Baldwin) recently sat down with WWL's Eric Paulson to discuss the actor's battle with cancer, the role that eagle-eyed fans played in getting a diagnosis, and where things stand now. In an ironic twist, LeBlanc's character went through his own cancer scare, so it was definitely a case of life imitating art. "It was interesting, you play that, 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," LeBlanc said.
The interview was LeBlanc's first time publicly revealing that he'd had cancer, but sadly he was not the only star dealing with cancer on the show. Eric Braeden (Victor Newman) has had his own public battle with cancer, which he is currently in remission from. However, LeBlanc's situation was a little different. "Mine happened so fast. There was a lot of me dealing with it first." LeBlanc shared.
LeBlanc was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, which is a cancer of the plasma cells, a type of white blood cell in the bone marrow. "It's a very common cancer, which, but again, it's like you don't think of a pink elephant. Now that I hear about myeloma, you hear it everywhere." LeBlanc said. The actor explains that it is fast-moving cancer, but it is also heavily researched to help take the pain out of the treatment, which includes chemotherapy.
"I was diagnosed around June, [at] Santa Monica, St. John's Hospital, which I'd never been to. I'd never spent a day in the hospital in my 65 years until this year," the actor admitted. "They put my wedding ring on -- that Lauren [Baldwin; portrayed by Tracy Bregman] and Michael's wedding ring -- and I put my hand down and the ring fell off without friction and I thought what an odd thing. My nose started bleeding on set, this eye [indicating his left eye] kind of got a little wonky, and there was a tumor in the sinus cavity."
According to LeBlanc, an eye exam initially raised concerns, and he was sent to a neurologist for further testing. The actor explained that it wasn't until he had surgery that they discovered that the tumor had been pressing on his optic nerve. "But the fans caught it. I was getting people [saying] 'Like your eye's a little, little, Jim Carrey that way,'" LeBlanc said.
LeBlanc had been active helping various charities for years, but he became involved with an organization called Little Big Cup, which offers support to cancer patients. "It's the cancer support community. And it was interesting when they called me up, and I was thinking of medical support. But what these people do is all the surrounding things that happen to you when you're diagnosed with something like this, so it's about how to mentally deal with it, how financially you might cope with some of the expenses of being out of work and, all these amazing things." LeBlanc learned of the organization when he attended a fundraiser hosted by Little Big Cup with Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke Logan, The Bold and the Beautiful), whose father had passed away from cancer.
LeBlanc credits fans and his doctors for getting an early diagnosis and treatment. Because of that, he is now in remission.
The three-time Emmy Award winner began his tenure on Y&R in 1991, but he left in 1993, only to return in 1997. LeBlanc started his daytime career in 1983 as Kirk McColl on As the World Turns. He made regular appearances on NBC's primetime series In the Heat of the Night, starring Carroll O'Connor and Howard Rollins.
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