IT WAS something that had never really crossed Phil Stoker’s mind.
He knew what testicular cancer was, but he never thought he would fall victim to the disease.
But then he found a lump and before he knew it, he was being told he had cancer.
Now in an effort to raise awareness and help other men catch the disease early, he is telling his story.
‘Obviously I knew about testicular cancer but I hardly ever really checked myself,’ said the 32-year-old.
‘Then in January I found a lump, which I was a bit scared about. I spoke to my housemate and he said he’d had something similar and it was just a cyst.
‘So for a while I just tried to ignore it, but it was still there after a few weeks and there was swelling around it so I knew something wasn’t right.’
Phil, of London Road, Hilsea, made the decision to call NHS Direct one Saturday night.
After explaining the symptoms, they booked him in for an emergency appointment at Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, for the following day. Phil was then booked in for an ultrasound later in the week.
‘That’s when they said it was cancer,’ said Phil. ‘It was a shock.
‘But I was relieved they’d caught it early and it hadn’t spread. The only thing I was worried about was fertility.
‘When I was four I had to have an operation to have my testicle lowered, and then I had a really bad bout of mumps when I was 26, which can affect fertility.
‘I’ve always wanted children and so was worried having the cancerous testicle remove would affect that.’
Thankfully Phil, a health and safety accounts manager, was able to have sperm frozen ready for when he wants to have a family.
Having this reassurance, he then had the operation at QA to remove the cancer and one dose of chemotherapy.
Now, just seven weeks later, he is back to playing five-a-side football and swimming like before.
He said: ‘I’m fine now but I’m lucky because they caught it early.
‘Because it was caught early enough, I’ve only got a one per cent chance of it coming back. I just need to have checks every few months.’
He added: ‘Now I just want to raise awareness about testicular cancer and try and encourage other men to check themselves. The earlier it’s caught, the better.’
Phil has set up a blog to help raise awareness about testicular cancer. To read the blog visit philstoker.wordpress.com.