Only rarely at VERYWESTHAM are we left without something sarcastic or zany to say in response to footballing events but on occasion humour cannot provide a tonic for genuine tragedy. As the footballing community comes to terms with the untimely death of 20 year old West Ham player Dylan Tombides after a 30 month battle with testicular cancer, we reflect upon a condition that has doubled in frequency over recent years and that has visited a number of high profile Hammers, including survivors John Hartson and Eamon Dolan (diagnosed in 2009 and 1993, respectively).
For all men, regular self-examination is crucial to beating this condition – here are five key facts to consider:ʘ Each year in the UK just over 2,000 men are diagnosed with testicular cancer. It is the most common type of cancer in men between the ages of 15 and 44 and the rate has doubled over the last 30 years.
ʘ The most common symptom of testicular cancer is a lump or swelling in one of the testicles. This is typically about the size of a pea, but may be larger. Less than 5% of testicular lumps are cancerous, but a lump should always be investigated – go to your GP asap!
ʘ The best way to combat testicular cancer is for all men to self-examine their testicles at least monthly – during or after a shower is an ideal time.
ʘ Examine each testicle with both hands. Place the index and middle fingers under the testicle with the thumbs placed on top. Roll the testicle gently between the thumbs and fingers. It’s normal for one testicle to be slightly larger than the other. Also, the epididymis is a soft tube behind the testicle that collects and carries sperm - if you are practiced at self-examination, this shouldn’t be mistaken for a lump.
|Probably best done in private|
ʘ And remember, even if you do find something sinister, testicular cancer is one of the most treatable types of cancer. Over 95% of men with early stage testicular cancer will be completely cured. Even cases where the cancer has spread outside the testicles to nearby tissue have an 80% chance of being cured.