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'Early visits to GP saved my life after two bouts of cancer'
A DAD-of-two who twice battled testicular cancer and won is encouraging more men to get tested for the disease.
Paul Currah said doctors saved his life both times by diagnosing his condition early.
He is supporting a new Cancer Research UK campaign called Spot Cancer Sooner to promote body awareness.
The 49-year-old Witney man told the Oxford Mail: “For me, early diagnosis made the difference between living and dying.”
Mr Currah was first diagnosed in autumn 2000 after he found a lump.
His GP first thought it wasn’t the disease but diagnosed it later the same day after consulting colleagues.
Mr Currah said: “Even though it was scary finding out, it was comforting to know I was in good hands and that I had been right.
“They arranged for me to have an operation within a week.”
The operation at Oxford’s Churchill Hospital removed a testicle and he was then put on to regular radiotherapy to deal with any remaining cancer.
But in August 2004, Mr Currah, a supply chain manager for Woodstock drug delivery device firm Owen Mumford Ltd, found another lump and, despite the odds, was diagnosed again.
This time it had also spread to nearby nodes in his lymphatic system, one of the key defences the body has against infection. Once again, doctors scheduled an operation quickly and Mr Currah’s other testicle was removed.
But the cancer was more serious and required further treatment through chemotherapy.
The treatment was a difficult time, he said, and some days he did not even have enough energy to watch television.
- Things to look out for:
- Lumps or swelling on part of one testical. But remember, only four per cent of lumps turn out to be cancer
- Discomfort or pain
- The scrotum may feel heavy
- Higher than normal levels of hormones in the blood
- Backache, caused by cancer in the lymph glands
Mr Currah said: “It is hard for me to imagine now, because I feel healthier than ever these days.
“But you are putting toxic chemicals in your body to kill the cancer, so you constantly go through the cycle of feeling slightly better before feeling terrible all over again.
“Fortunately I had a lot of support from my family and friends, particularly my wife Janet, who was incredible throughout.”
He said he “couldn’t bear to think” of children James, now 17, and Rachel, 20, growing up without a father.
He said: “Having young children when I was in the middle of dark moments, it was them who kept me going.”
Now celebrating a full recovery 10 years on, he is calling for more people to get check-ups if they feel something is wrong.
He said: “My advice is that yes, it may be embarrassing or you might not be sure, but it could save your life.
“And if you don’t want to do it for yourself, then do it for your loved ones.”
- Anyone worried about changes to their body can call Cancer Research UK’s information nurses on 0808 8004040. For information visit spotcancersooner.com
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