Paul’s story

I first got some pain in my testicles when I was 19. But I ignored it and put it out of my mind.

As a typical bloke, I was protective of my crown jewels and didn’t like to think there was anything wrong with them. Also, the thought of dropping my boxers and being examined by a doctor petrified me.

Over the years the pain came and went. I’d get a load of pressure, like a cramp, and a deep ache. By the time I was 34, there was a sizeable lump and my wife made me go and get it checked out.

My doctor asked me if I’d ever had any injuries. I explained that during a rugby match I’d been headbutted in the testicles and had collapsed in a heap. There are no ways of describing how painful that was. It made me want to throw up. She examined me and said it was scar tissue from the injury which had got bigger and bigger over the years. It was a simple explanation for something which had caused me a load of pain for 15 years. But what would have happened if that had been testicular cancer? I wish I’d gone sooner, particularly as both of my parents had died of cancer.

I get that blokes don’t want to go to the doctor, particularly if it’s a woman examining you. What happens if you react inappropriately? (I can assure you there’s nothing less erotic!) Also, blokes are generally fixers and we have this pressure to act like there’s nothing wrong all the time. But we have a stark choice, don’t we? Accept that we might have to endure a few minutes of feeling a bit awkward, or risk that if we don’t, we may not be there for our families and mates in the future.

Don’t regret not going sooner. If you’re worried, do it now. I used to think that asking for help was a weakness but now I know it’s the strongest thing you can do.