In an extremely candid first-person account, Downton Abbey and EastEnders star Nicky Henson admitted that his good sense of humor has kept him going with his battle with cancer. The TV star has been battling with two different types of cancers for the last 18 years and has now decided to speak openly about his disease. 

Nicky wrote in The Mirror: "I've been fighting cancer for 18 years now so it’s just part of my life. Whatever happens, happens. It’s not so much fighting it, it’s keeping a sense of humor."

nicky henson
Nicky Henson attends a photocall for 'We Still Kill The Old Way' at Ham Yard Hotel on September 29, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

The star continued, "I swim half a mile every day but I’ve always done that. I haven’t smoked for about 45 years, but I drink alcohol and I’m not going to stop having a good time. If I’m going to be here, you need to enjoy it! I consider myself a very lucky person."

It was on a Christmas day 18 years ago that Nicky found out that he had been diagnosed with gastrointestinal stromal tumors. He had surgery to remove half his colon and part of his stomach and started dating an anti-cancer drug.

nicky henson
Actor Nicky Henson attends the Opening of 'Jumpers' After Party at Tavern On The Green, on April 25, 2004 in New York City. (Photo by Thos Robinson/Getty Images)

However, despite the surgery and the drugs, the large tumor in Nicky’s stomach came back. He underwent another operation and surgeons removed his spleen, taking away cancer for good but meaning Nicky would have to continue taking life-saving drugs for the rest of his life.

To make things worse, eight years later, he found out he had prostate cancer. Nicky admitted to having 21 medical procedures in a year and said he’s now got a stent which needs to be replaced every five to six months.

nicky henson
Nicky Henson attends the 'John Cleese Comedy Roast - 50 Years In Showbusiness' at Mosimanns Restaurant on November 24, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

In his account of the happenings, he credited his family, and especially his children, for helping him stay positive, as well as making sure he lives every day to the full.

Nicky said, “My three sons looked it all up on the internet and said, ‘Listen dad, it’s not like the old days – you’ll be alright’. And I have been for 18 years. I have four grandchildren who I never thought I’d see. I’m also still working, which really helps."

The Downton Abbey star added, “My wife Marguerite has been extraordinary. Aside from the fact she saved my life about four times after finding me in difficult situations, she has to deal with the day-to-day side.”

If you have any views or stories that you would like to share with us, drop us an email at writetous@meawwworld.com