At 26 years old Ben was young and fit, so it came as an enormous shock to discover a lump on one of his testicles. Ben acted quickly and went to see his GP, where unfortunately it proved to be testicular cancer.
Ben was offered surgery to remove the testicle, all went well and he didn’t require any further treatment. Everyone concerned believed the danger had passed.
Devastatingly, however, three years on from being told the cancer had gone, Ben’s remaining testicle had to be surgically removed as another cancer had been discovered. Ben’s treatment this time was more prolonged as he had to undergo a four month regime of chemotherapy post operation.
Ben tells us what it felt like to be told he had cancer.
Getting your head around it
‘The one word you never want to hear is cancer. It’s a massive shock to be told you have an illness that could kill you, it is absolutely devastating.’
‘Although you feel like your world is falling apart you have to try and understand what it means and how you are going to face it. Those procedures, the treatment, they are not easy to endure; they are challenging both physically and mentally. Nothing is easy about going through cancer treatment but you have to trust the specialists who say you will be okay. The treatments do save your life.’
The Movember Foundation
Following treatment for his second bout of testicular cancer, Ben got to hear of the Movember Foundation. This is a charity that raises awareness of testicular and prostate cancer and other men’s health issues. In particular it tries to raise money by encouraging men to grow a moustache during November.
As a survivor of testicular cancer Ben met with some of the charity’s representatives and was amazed at how driven they were. Ben felt immediately at ease with his ‘Movember family’ and embraced their passion to raise awareness of these cancers. Ben hopes that along with helping to save lives Movember’s campaign will result in men living healthier and longer.
The Movember charity strives to empower men to be more open with their feelings, to talk about their fears and to act quickly if they do find anything of concern. They hope men will be less frightened to seek medical advice.
Ben describes it well; ‘Movember is trying to help men to change the way they think they should behave, they should not be scared to share their feelings. Men should be more open; being a man is about taking positive action and being responsible for their own wellbeing.’
Are women able to support men?
Ben says that more often than not there is a woman behind a man, encouraging them to act and so they have an essential role to play, not only in the Movember charity but in the community too. Women can absolutely help men to overcome illness and lead a healthier lifestyle too.
‘Movember have launched a particular challenge for women this year. It’s called MOVEmber (30 moves over 30 days) which encourages women to become physically active to support men. This could be anything from walking more to doing a 10k run!
Talking it through
When asked if he has any advice for those who have recently been given a cancer diagnosis Ben said that they should remember they are not alone.
‘You may be experiencing so many emotions but try to focus on the fact that you are not the only person going through cancer and others have come out the other side’
‘It is important to find others who have had similar experiences and to talk to them. If you can share your feelings and fears with those who have gone through it then it will help you to get through it too.’
‘Communication is key so don’t be scared to open up.’
Visit the Movember Foundation website if you are interested in knowing more.
If you have recently been diagnosed with cancer or are caring for someone with cancer and would like to know how to cope then see coping with cancer for some helpful advice.