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Eric McCormack’s Personal Connection with Cancer

Eric McCormack
Eric McCormack

You likely know him for his comedy on Will & Grace, and more recently, Travelers on Netflix — but what you may not know is that Eric McCormack uses his celebrity to raise awareness for cancer through initiatives like Stand up to Cancer Canada and Plaid for Dad.

Mediaplanet: Why is cancer awareness and research so important to you?

Eric McCormack: When I started Will & Grace 20 years ago, it became a very natural platform to talk about AIDS, marriage equality, and the things that came out of playing a gay character.

Shortly after that show ended, cancer struck my family — my mother first, who survived breast cancer, but died of bladder cancer. My father beat prostate cancer, but then succumbed to it in 2008, and later my father-in-law. My wife and I have been active in so many other causes — suddenly I thought, well, this thing that has affected me the most, why am I not focusing most of my energy on that?

What would you want to tell somebody who has been recently diagnosed with cancer, or has a loved one in their lives who is affected by it?

Get moving right now, get the best doctors, get a second opinion, and be positive. Have belief that with every passing day there’s new research happening and a new reason for hope. We assume cancer is like death and taxes, and don’t work as hard with the idea of fighting it, for finding a cure.

We need to not give in to the concept that cancer will always be here. In fact, we need to start believing, as we do in the AIDS community, that there is a cure and it’s coming… that we can beat this.

Many men have a harder time talking about their health — what would your advice be to encourage men to take those next steps in improving their lifestyle?

I think the traditional male pattern has been focusing so much on work, and then the next thing you know is you’re 65 and you haven’t really taken care of yourself. You don’t complain until your check-up. I think it’s a generational thing for sure, and a gender thing. But it’s a new age, and it’s time to think about it. It’s time to stay fit, stay connected with your doctor and your body, and get answers. 

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