Men’s health matters

Blackpool FC player Keith Southern.
Blackpool FC player Keith Southern.
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THE earlier you can get help, the better. That’s the message from health experts at Blackpool Victoria Hospital ahead of Men’s Health Week, which starts on June 11.

They hope to encourage men to be more aware of male cancers, and to not be embarrassed or scared to see their GP.

Blackpool FC player Keith Southern has bravely spoken up – including in Friday’s Gazette – about his experience of testicular cancer.

His surgery was successful after he was diagnosed last year, and he was back on the pitch two months later.

And the 31-year-old’s story may well give hope to other men in similar situations, as he revealed the news which reduced him to tears.

After being told he had only a “very remote” chance of fathering another child, his wife conceived naturally.

He told The Gazette: “I would go as far as saying it was the best day of my life when I found out.”

Rob Saul, urology nurse, said Keith’s story was a positive one, and he hoped it would help other men.

“Fertility is one of the issues and concerns men often have if they are having surgery.

“More often that not, if they were fertile before surgery, they still will be, but radiotherapy and chemotherapy could damage fertility.

“There are measures which can be taken, such as using a sperm bank.

“While surgery is not a big procedure in the clinical sense, it can be in the psychological sense. One of the factors is body image, especially among younger men.

“The main thing is, there is a high success rate in treating testicular cancer.

“But the earlier it can caught, the better.

“Then there’s less chance of it spreading.

“We urge men to check themselves – perhaps once a month, and the best way to do it is in a warm bath or shower.

“They are looking for lumps or bumps or anything not quite right, which they feel causes them concern.

“If they are worried, they should go to their GP as soon as they can to get it checked.

“Don’t be embarrassed, the GP has seen it all before, it’s their job.

“And don’t be scared, or feel it’s waste of time. It’s never a waste of time.

“It may turn out to be nothing, or something like a cyst, but at least that will put their mind at rest.

“And if it is something, then the earlier we treat it, the better.

“In fact, if men are concerned about any aspect of health, they should always go see their GP.”