“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.