john partridge red carpet

John Partridge reveals his secret battle with cancer

The former EastEnders star spoke about his diagnosis on GMB

Gemma Strong

John Partridge has revealed his secret battle with testicular cancer for the first time. The former EastEnders star spoke about his diagnosis during an appearance on Good Morning Britain ahead of his performance on ITV's The Real Full Monty on Wednesday. John, 46, also explained his decision to keep the news a secret. "I was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2004 while waiting for a hernia operation and it was found. I had a tumour the size of a grapefruit," he shared. "I had no pain – I didn't realise it was there. Had I not had this surgery for something else, who knows what would have happened? I went into reverse shock about it," he continued. "Once it had been removed, five months later, I had to have a few lymphs removed as a precaution and then I started to worry and get the fear – what if it comes back? Is it my lifestyle?"

The TV star, who had a testicle removed as part of his treatment, then revealed why he had decided to keep his diagnosis a secret for so long. "As a man, I felt I'd lost part of my sexuality, my masculinity, my virility," he said. "It was a long operation, I had over 120 stitches. There's a scar - it doesn’t look particularly pretty." He also confessed he feared his diagnosis would prevent him from getting work. "I make my money going out on the road doing big tours," he said. "People think of me as being this big, incredibly fit, healthy guy. I suddenly thought, 'You're not going to take me out on this 52-week tour, eight shows a week, if you have concerns about my health.' So I chose to never speak about it."

STORY: Dynamo reveals impact of Crohn's disease in shocking Instagram photo

Now, 14 years after his diagnosis, John is finally ready to share his story. "I'm doing The Full Monty because I know there's lots of people like me who will have had this like me and have never spoken about it," he said. The Full Monty will see a group of celebrities bare all on live TV in a bid to raise awareness for cancer. The show is supported by charities Movember, Prostate Cancer UK, Cancer Research and Everyman. The male stars stripping off include John, Jeff Brazier, Ainsley Harriott and The Wanted's Tom Parker. An all-female version will see the likes of Coleen Nolan, Meghan McKenna and Michelle Heaton helping to raise awareness about breast cancer.

More on: