Don’t be embarrassed guys - get yourselves a health check

August 16 2016

A FISHPONDS resident who survived testicular cancer nearly 30 years ago is urging men who have any concerns to put their embarrassment aside and get checked out.

A FISHPONDS resident who survived testicular cancer nearly 30 years ago is urging men who have any concerns to put their embarrassment aside and get checked out.

David Laslett, 67, put off going to his GP because he was too busy running the four soft furnishings shops he owned with his brother.

When he eventually found the time to see his doctor, he ended up in hospital six hours later.

Because he’d left it so late, a secondary cancer had developed and surgeons had to fight to save his kidneys.

“Women talk a lot about breast cancer but  men don’t talk about testicular cancer because it tends to be a little bit personal,” said David.

Testicular cancer mainly affects young men between the ages of 15 and 40 years. It starts as an abnormal growth that can develop in one, or, more rarely, both testicles and is highly treatable if diagnosed early.

David, who was 38 at the time of his diagnosis, said: “I noticed there was something wrong with me because I had a swollen testes and back pain but I didn’t have time to be ill. I thought the back pain was because I’d overdone things at work. I said I’d go to the doctors after Christmas because the lead up to Christmas was a busy time for me, then I said I’d better wait until after the January sales. I then said I can’t go to the doctors because I have to get ready to stock take so I’ll go after that. It went on like that for 18 months.”

When David’s wife Carol noticed that his testes had swollen even more, he finally called the doctor.

“The doctor came round and within about six hours I was in hospital. The consultant called my wife to one side and said ‘I think you better say cheerio’.”

A secondary tumour had been sent up into David’s abdomen which was causing his kidneys to fail.

“The type of seminoma I had doesn’t normally put out secondaries but mine did. It was the size of a grapefruit in my abdomen which cut out my kidneys, causing me the back pain I’d been experiencing.

“The doctors didn’t think they’d be able to get my kidneys working again. They said they didn’t know if they could do anything but they would try.” 

Luckily doctors were successful in getting one of David’s kidneys working, which meant he had the strength to undergo an operation to remove his testicle, a procedure called an orchiectomy.

David, who has two children and four grandchildren, was treated at Basingstoke District Hospital as he was living in Hampshire at the time. He then underwent a course of chemotherapy at a hospital in Southampton.

“Thankfully they managed to get one kidney working. Miracles happened and I’m still here today,” he said.

David who helps out with various community projects including Incredible Edible in Fishponds and Street Goat in St George, said if other men learnt one thing from his tale it would be to make themselves aware of testicular cancer and its symptoms.

He said: “We men tend to be very secretive about these things but I would urge men, particularly young men, to be aware. It’s all about awareness which can help you identify any abnormalities you have in that area. If you find something which doesn’t seem right - like a lump or swelling - get it checked out.

“It may not be malignant; it could just be a cyst but don’t do what I did and leave it. Get it sorted straight away. There are very few people these days who die from that type of cancer; that’s very rare but you have a better chance if the cancer is detected early.”

David is urging men who want to find out more about testicular cancer to visit the website www.checkemlads.com which he says is a brilliant source of information, support and advice.

Facts about testicular cancer

 

 The most common symptom of testicular cancer is a lump or swelling in one of your testicles. 

The lump or swelling can be about the size of a pea, but may be larger.

Most lumps or swellings in the scrotum aren’t in the testicle and aren’t a sign of cancer. In fact, research has shown that less than four per cent of scrotal lumps or swellings are cancerous. However, they should never be ignored. 

 

Associated symptoms:

 

Testicular cancer can also cause other symptoms, including:

•  dull ache or sharp pain in your testicles or scrotum, which may come and go 

•  feeling of heaviness in your scrotum 

•  change in the texture or increase in firmness of a testicle 

•  difference between one testicle and the other 

 See your GP as soon as you notice any lump or swelling on your testicle. They’ll examine your testicles to help determine whether or not the lump is cancerous.

* Source: www.nhs.uk