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Scientists urge men not to ignore potentially cancerous lumps

16 June 2010

Testicular cancer survivor and adventurer Charley Boorman supports Turn Blue Day – Friday 18 June

British men are risking their lives by ignoring potentially cancerous testicular lumps, according to a leading men’s cancer campaign.

The survey by Everyman revealed that 41 per cent of men who found a lump chose not to get it checked out by a doctor, with 30 per cent saying they hoped it would just go away on its own.

Figures also showed that 46 per cent of men do not check for changes in their testicles often enough, with an alarming one in five admitting to never checking for lumps.

Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men aged 15 – 44 but is 99 per cent curable when caught early. However, if symptoms are ignored and the cancer spreads, harsher treatment methods such as chemotherapy are required which often carry debilitating and long-term side-effects.

Everyman scientist Dr Robert Huddart recently conducted a study which found that nerve pain, hearing loss and discoloured fingers and toes are among the potential side-effects suffered by testicular cancer patients treated with chemotherapy*.

Dr Huddart said, “Our study reinforces the importance of men regularly checking themselves for any signs of cancer. Men whose disease is diagnosed early require less treatment, and therefore reduce their risk of suffering damaging side-effects later in life.”

Further statistics reveal that men are simply too embarrassed to discuss potential problems. Nearly two in three said they were too embarrassed to discuss their health with anyone, including their doctor.

The findings are published during Everyman Male Cancer Awareness Month which aims to heighten awareness around men’s health and also raise funds for research into testicular and prostate cancers.

The campaign is calling on people to Turn Blue for male cancer this Friday 18 June in a bid to help raise the £2 million needed each year to fund the Everyman research centre at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR). City councils including London, Sheffield, Portsmouth and Cardiff are turning local landmarks blue in support of the campaign.

Everyman ambassadors including Piers Morgan, Dermot O’Leary and testicular cancer survivors Charley Boorman and Jimmy White are also urging men to raise money to fight testicular and prostate cancers, which together affect 37,000 men in the UK each year.

Individuals and companies are being asked to download a fundraising pack for ideas on how to Turn Blue during June.

                          Charley Boorman

 

Adventurer and actor Charley Boorman, 43, is supporting Everyman’s Turn Blue initiative after being diagnosed with testicular cancer in March, following a fortunate coincidence involving his pet dog Ziggy.

When Charley’s wife Olivia took Ziggy for a check-up, the vet noticed one of the dog’s testicles was harder than the other and explained that this could be a sign of testicular cancer. Charley had earlier disclosed similar symptoms of his own to Olivia so after the appointment, she knew to urge Charley to get himself checked out immediately.

Following a blood test and ultrasound, Charley was diagnosed with early stage testicular cancer in his right testicle. The cancer was a seminoma which is a less aggressive form of the disease.

Charley said: “One testicle was definitely harder than the other. Now and again I’d get a throbbing ache down there, a bit like after you’ve been kicked where it hurts. But it wasn’t really painful and, because I was busy, it was easy to dismiss as one of those aches or pains you get now and again and ignore.”

He was operated on within four days of the diagnosis – the testicle was removed and replaced with a prosthetic. He then underwent one round of chemotherapy as a precautionary measure and was back riding his motorcycle within ten days of the surgery. Charley will have regular checks for the next ten years.

After further checks, Ziggy also came back with a clean bill of health.

                                              -Ends-

 

Notes to Editors

* http://www.everyman-campaign.org/News/Press_Archive/2010/15317.shtml

Survey conducted by One Poll with a sample size of 3,000.

The Institute of Cancer Research FRSB
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