I met Mike when I was at Sexhibition in August, he had a serious message to give to everybody that was there. I saw him in action a couple of times – speaking with the visitors – and it looks like he made a huge impact. I got in touch with him afterwards and he was willing to write me a guest post so the message can be spread that little bit further. Here is is story:
“Mark had been ill for a while, visiting the doctors with various ailments, but being assured it was nothing more than him being run down. Then on December 27th Mark collapsed and was rushed to hospital.
I still remember Mark calling me from hospital on the evening he was told it was cancer, I remember just bursting in to tears and falling to the floor, handing the phone to my wife, I couldn’t speak. Jen calmed me down gave me the phone back and told me to just go and see him.
Marks cancer was different, he had been diagnosed with Teratoma with no primary site, this translates to testicular cancer without the common signs and symptoms. I’ll spare you the details of the 11 months that followed, just know it was painful for all involved.
Mark passed away at the age of 24, having married Leah only a few weeks before. In the weeks leading up to Marks passing he decided to start a charity to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of testicular cancer and to promote self-examination.
Its Mark’s determination that drives us to speak to as many people as possible, to let them know about TC and what they should be looking for. During our first 5 years we have had conversations with couples and seen research that’s shows that its often the man’s partner who finds the change to the testicle during sexual activity.
That’s what brought us to Sexhibition in Manchester with our ‘While You’re Down There’ awareness stand. We spoke to hundreds of men and women, both single and couples, talking them though the signs and symptoms and showing them how to perform a testicle examination using our prosthetic testicles.
Now the important bit, how to check and what to look for.
- The best time to check you testicles, or those of your partner, is after a warm bath or shower when the skin of the scrotum is looser, but any time is fine. Do this once a month.
- Hold a testicle and gently roll it in-between between your thumb and forefinger. Get used to how your healthy testicles feel, that way if you do notice any changes you know to get to the doctors.
- You are looking for any lumps, bumps, hardening or swelling in the testicle. Most men have one testicle that is larger than the other, or one that hangs lower, this is perfectly normal. But if you notice a change in the size of one of your testicles this should set alarm bells off.
- Other signs and symptoms include pain in the stomach, pain in the lower back, loss of sex drive, pain or swelling in the breast area, being over tired or being unwell for a longer period than usual.
If you notice any of the above then you need to visit your GP as soon as possible, if your GP is female and this makes you uncomfortable then you can request a male GP. Most lumps and bumps turn out to be harmless, but you need to make sure.
Early detection is key.
If it does turn out to be TC and you have caught it in stage 1, then it is 98% curable, surely that’s good enough reason to start to check yourself once a month.
We will be at Sexpo London in November, so come over and see us and learn what to do ‘While Your’e Down There’ it will be great to meet you.