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Terry Bradshaw on Why He Waited to Reveal Cancer Diagnosis



Steelers QB Terry Bradshaw

Steelers Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw revealed on the “Fox NFL Kickoff” show on Oct. 2 that he had battled two forms of cancer within the last year and is now cancer-free. Bradshaw was first diagnosed with bladder cancer last November, and then doctors found a malignant tumor in his neck in March after he experienced chronic neck pain.

So why did Bradshaw wait so long to publicly disclose that he was battling cancer? He didn’t want people to feel sorry for him.

“How do you talk about your problems when everybody else has the same problems? I didn’t talk about it because I didn’t want pity,” Bradshaw said in an interview that aired Wednesday on NBC’s TODAY show. “I didn’t talk about it because a lot of celebrities — unfortunately, I’m one of those — when they say this, I think the perception around America with all the millions of people is, ‘Aw, look at him. Bless his heart. He has cancer. Well, my husband died of cancer! My kids are…’ I didn’t want that.”

Bradshaw said it took him a long time before he even told his family that he had cancer. He only made the announcement publicly because he was ridiculed the week prior for struggling to breathe while breaking down plays from a few games.

“I couldn’t breathe,” Bradshaw recalled. “That’s when everybody notices. ‘What’s wrong with him?’ Social media went, ‘Get rid of him. He needs to be off the air. He’s an embarrassment.’ And I was like, ‘Embarrassment? I got cancer.'”

Despite dealing with two forms of cancer, the 74-year-old Bradshaw was never scared as he relied on his Christian faith.

“I wasn’t scared. I don’t know why. I never was scared,” he said. “My attitude was if I go, I’m OK. If I stay, I’m OK.”

While Bradshaw said he was never scared, he did admit that his tumor diagnosis was alarming. Bradshaw went to get checked out because he had nerve pain in his neck and shoulder, which was common because he suffered a neck injury during his playing career. He did not expect doctors to find a tumor.

“And I went, ‘What?’ Now, this bothered me,” Bradshaw recalled.

Bradshaw’s wife, Tammy, was his rock during his battle with cancer.

“I can’t put into words how thankful I am for her,” Bradshaw said. “Seriously. I can’t imagine not holding her hand when we take off on a plane or when we snuggle up when we’re in bed together. Or when she’s sitting over their with our sick puppy, and I look at her and she doesn’t know I’m looking at her. I’m so thankful, now I’m getting emotional.”

The Bradshaws recently put their enormous Oklahoma horse ranch up for sale, as they wanted to downsize. They have plans to possibly travel to Europe.

“I don’t want to put this off anymore,” Bradshaw said. “I may have 25-30 years left, but I’m gonna act like I’ve got one.”

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