John Hartson: 'I was stupid not to get lump checked'

FORMER Norwich City footballer John Hartson is set to become a father again, despite receiving treatment for cancer.

FORMER Norwich City footballer John Hartson is set to become a father again, despite receiving treatment for cancer.

Hartson, 34, has completed his final chemotherapy session after it was revealed in July that he had been diagnosed with cancer of the testicles, which later spread to his brain and lungs.

The former Welsh international striker, who played four games for Norwich City after joining on loan from West Bromwich Albion in October 2007, told the Scottish Sun that his partner Sarah McManus was expecting their second child in March.

He said he was determined to beat his cancer to see the baby and to marry Ms McManus, 37.

“I have every reason to live and plan to be there for the birth. We're having a scan in two weeks to see what sex it is,” he said.

Hartson was speaking as he launched the Movember campaign, in which men are urged to grow a moustache to raise awareness of men's health issues, including testicular and prostate cancer.

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Hartson was near to death just months ago. The once-burly striker is now unsteady on his feet and must take deep breaths before speaking, and has scars on his head from the two emergency brain operations needed to save his life.

He now weighs 14st 7lbs, nearly five stone less than when he was taken to hospital on July 9 suffering from blinding headaches.

He said: “I'm not doing bad considering I left hospital a few weeks ago on a zimmer frame. But these are the smallest jeans I own from years ago and they're still falling off me.”

Hartson blamed his own lifestyle for his cancer, saying: “Oh, I know why it happened to me - because I was stupid. I didn't take my health seriously. I let my weight go up to a ridiculous level - 19st 3lbs.

“And I had that lump for probably four years now I think of it. In that time I played for Celtic, West Brom and Norwich. They have club doctors that work 24/7 and I never asked them to check out my lump - how stupid is that?

“It's ignorance, and I nearly lost my life over it.”

He added: “I'm not through it yet. I've been so ill there's no way I can say I'm out of the woods. I was dying. So to even get to this stage is quite a big achievement. It's bigger than anything I ever achieved in football.”