Video Commentator TotalBiscuit Gets Personal About Cancer

“If you were hoping to hear about video games…” he says, pausing for a moment. Comically gruesome gameplay footage of a doctor clumsily fiddling with a half-excavated chest cavity continues to run uninterrupted on the YouTube video. “Not today. I think that needed a video of its own, to explain there.”

The man talking is John Bain. At 29 years old, he’s better known to the internet by a handful of online pseudonyms including “TotalBiscuit”, “The Cynical Brit” and “TotalHalibut”, the names he goes by when broadcasting his reflections and criticisms of video games on YouTube. With more than 1.6 million subscribers on the site, he’s not the most popular video game personality out there, but his followers are so passionate they have been more than half-seriously described as a cult.

Bain interrupted his regular programming this morning to deliver a brutally candid and touching statement about a battle he’s not entirely sure he’s waging against cancer. From the sound of it, he’s been suffering from a number of “embarrassing” health problems for the last few months. The kinds of things that made sitting down at a desk for hours at a time or just going to the bathroom unbearably painful. But they’re also not the kinds of things most men — particularly men in their late twenties — are eager to open up about.

When he finally caved in and went to the doctor, they found “either a pre-cancerous or already cancerous mass” inside his colon.

“Basically what I’m saying is: if I don’t already have cancer, I will have cancer if this is not dealt with,” Bain says in the video.

He’s using his popular YouTube channel to open up about the condition because, as he explains over the delightfully discordant footage Surgeon Simulator, he wants to help other people overcome their embarrassment about the condition and seek treatment for it while they still can.

“I should have gone to the doctor pretty much immediately, but I didn’t,” he says at one point in the log. “I figured: it’s embarrassing, it will just go away on its own.”

“You know what?” he concludes. “I almost got myself killed.”

Watch the full video up above. Not only is this an admirable message for a popular online personality to help disseminate, but it’s also a fascinating instance of a prolific and acclaimed Let’s Player turning the camera back on himself in a provocative way.


  • That’s the problem with guys and the illusion of “man” that’s always being shoved into their face. They should always avoid embarressment because it’s not manly, or avoid being emotional because it’s not manly. Hell, the entire attitude of dudbros and fratboys is completely controlled by the idealology of being a man. If they don’t get over the childish views on being a man they’ll just have so many problems in their life.

    • Really it’s a problem with blindly following static gender roles. Until we get that sorted, so many problems are going to go untreated, and leaky blood butt is just one of them.

  • Pretty much sums it up, no one wants to face the facts but at some point you realise that these things just don’t go away by ignoring them. It’s always going to be better to be safe than sorry and as he says, you’re not going to embarrass the people you speak with, it’s their job.

    Being a macho man won’t beat cancer, but getting it checked might.

  • his followers are so passionate they have been more than half-seriously described as a cult.
    Funny, TotalBiscuit attempts to stop the antics of the ‘Cynical Fleet’ at every opportunity. He has said multiple times that people thinking that content provider is their friend or their leader is extremely dangerous. He has told his viewers to think of him less as a friend and more like a prostitute. The fact that his viewership is described as a cult is quite funny.

    Oh yeah, colon cancer. I probably should have focused on that instead.

    • I love TB and his videos, and would never claim to be part of the cult side of his fanbase. I just don’t get them. Especially as they spend no small amount of time complaining he’s not the messiah they want whenever he does or says something they don’t care for. UGH.

      Kudos on him for this post. I know personally how important health matters are, and our society needs to get over it. Aside from the gender roles others have mentioned, there is also the feeling prevelant in much of the US that health and worth or health and morality are linked. Admitting you have a problem is admitting you are one of ‘those’ people, who drive up costs because of their terrible life choices like getting sick.

  • Everything he says is incredibly true.

    It’s really good when people use their position of influence for spreading a good message, it’s also really good when they aren’t afraid to be human. What a champ!

  • It’s a message that needs to be shown more. A simple check up, it isn’t embarrassing to go see the doctor and doesn’t make you less of a man.

  • …of a prolific and acclaimed Let’s Player…

    He actually hates ‘Let’s Plays’ and is a video game guru of sorts (not reviewer because that isn’t accurate to what he does either). At least do the proper research on the guy when you’re saying he’s well-respected and also suffering from a potentially fatal issue.

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