By Jonathan McCambridge (PA)
A man who was diagnosed with testicular cancer as a teenager is urging others to get checked out if they feel something is not right.
As part of Men’s Health Week, Cancer Focus Northern Ireland is calling on local men to be body aware and help to detect cancer at its early stages.
Cancer has a major impact on the health of men in Northern Ireland, with around 7,700 diagnosed with the disease each year.
Daniel Simpson, 35, originally from Comber, Co Down, was diagnosed with testicular cancer at the age of 17.
He said: “When I was 16 or 17 I was experiencing a lot of back pain, these symptoms continued for over a year before I saw my GP, who originally thought it was a kidney infection because I was too young and shy to mention a huge swelling on one of my testicles.
“I was immediately rushed to the Ulster Hospital, and because I ignored the symptoms for so long the cancer had spread to my lungs, kidney, stomach and lymph nodes.
“After chemotherapy and a major operation that consumed most of the following year, I was incredibly given the all-clear.”
He added: “My advice for young men is to please get checked out for anything you feel is not normal.
“If you have any symptoms, visit your GP as soon as you can, it is nothing to be embarrassed about. It could save your life.”
Anthony Stuart, community wellbeing manager with Cancer Focus NI said: “Our message is positive: over the last 10 years male cancer survival rates have increased by 16.7%.
“By being body aware and detecting cancer at an earlier stage there are so many more options for treatments, leading to better outcomes.
“As well as being body aware, it’s important to take steps to reduce your risk of getting cancer. Up to 40% of all cancers can be prevented with a healthier lifestyle and seeking appropriate support.
“There are some simple guidelines that everyone can follow – keep to a healthy weight, eat healthily, be active, take care in the sun, limit alcohol, don’t smoke, attend cancer screenings if eligible and get unexplained changes in your body checked out by your doctor.
“It’s our mission to encourage men to take action and improve their health, and these days men seem more aware of preventable health problems and the importance of seeking early medical advice and treatment, which is great news.”
(Daniel Simpson, 35, originally from Comber, was diagnosed with testicular cancer at the age of 17)