Testicular Cancer Awareness Month – Paul’s story

Testicular Cancer Awareness Month
Paul Barclay - Recruitment Director, Waterman Aspen

According to Macmillan, around 2,300 people in the UK are diagnosed with Testicular Cancer each year. For Testicular Cancer Awareness Month, our Recruitment Director, Paul Barclay, shares his story in the hope to spread awareness and also discusses the importance of having supportive colleagues. Here is his story:

In December 2021, I noticed a change in one of my testicles whilst taking a shower. Of course, this raised some concern but, as it was the Christmas period, I decided to wait to see if anything had changed by the new year. January 2022 soon came around and, as nothing had changed, I called the doctor to make an appointment.

It was a telephone appointment at first but once I had discussed my symptoms with the doctor, he advised that he wanted me to attend the surgery for an examination. Following the examination, a hospital appointment was booked for an ultrasound. My initial question to the doctor was “Could this be something bad?” He replied, explaining that the chances of it being something bad were very low. However, he needed to ensure everything was investigated thoroughly.

Within one week, the ultrasound was carried out and the findings were sent directly to the Urologist to review. Within a couple of hours of having my scan, I was contacted and a follow-up appointment was made to discuss the results. This is when I began to feel that this could potentially be something serious, especially at the rate things were progressing.  

Results day arrived – the Urologist carried out another examination and then explained that he was 99% sure the findings were cancer. Also, that I would be admitted to hospital the following week to have the cancer and testicle removed. One of my worries after leaving the hospital was the length of time I was going to have to take off work. Looking back, this is something I didn’t need to worry about as the response I received was so supportive.

I reached a point where I needed specific support and guidance, so I reached out to Phil Morris MBE, who is the founder of Testicular Cancer UK. Phil took the time to call and run through what was to come, whilst confirming that all my feelings were valid. Phil continued to contact me the whole way through my journey to check up on me and my progress.

The week of the operation involved several blood tests and scans which were to help identify if the cancer had spread. The day of my operation went by in a blur and, thankfully, after a short stay in hospital I was sent home to recover. During this period, my colleagues would regularly call or text which was a great boost. The waiting around for the final result was the worst part. However, the day finally arrived, where it was confirmed that I did have cancer. I was referred to an oncologist two weeks later.

It was then confirmed that the cancer was Stage 1 and, thankfully, there was no sign that it had spread. I now have check-ups every three months for the next few years to ensure everything is still ok. This was the best outcome that I could have hoped for.

The advice I give to everyone reading this is, don’t be embarrassed if you notice something that doesn’t feel quite right. Don’t hesitate to go straight to the doctor. I was very lucky – the journey from the first doctor’s appointment to my operation took a total of two weeks.

Lastly, I would like to say a big thank you to Waterman Aspen and my colleagues for everything they did to help me along the way.

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