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Orchid Male Cancer Awareness Week reveals the psychological impact of testicular cancer

Kim Hookem-Smith
Yahoo Lifestyle
23 April 2012

The emotional toll of a testicular cancer diagnosis leaves men feeling depressed and unable to socialise

Male cancer charity Orchid is using this year’s awareness week to encourage a better understanding of how testicular cancer affects men emotionally. It hopes to encourage men to be more open about their feelings and fears and for their friends and partners to be more aware of what they’re going through.

[ Related story: How to minimise the risk of male cancers]

Over two thirds of men diagnosed with the condition admitted in a survey by the charity that they were so anxious and depressed after diagnosis they found it hard to socialise. Nearly half (40%) put off discussing their feelings with their partner, despite 70% worrying about how it would affect their relationship and sex life.

The most worrying revelation from the survey is that 35% of the men polled delayed going to the doctor for a few weeks after discovering a lump.

William Gingell, who is helping raise awareness for Orchid, was diagnosed with testicular cancer at just 17. Now 25, he’s been given the all clear but left to his own devices it’s unlikely he would have been diagnosed and treated so quickly. “To be honest, if my girlfriend had not prompted me to have it checked I probably would have left it a bit longer as I have always been pretty laid back and was never one to visit the doctor for nothing,” William said.

“Male cancer awareness is a significant problem in the UK today and it can still be a challenge to get men to take their health seriously,” explained Rebecca Porta, from Orchid. “We’re calling on all friends and team mates as well as close family and partners to be proactive in encouraging the man in their lives to be more male cancer aware.

Orchid has launched a new testicular cancer booklet written by a male cancer nurse, to help patients and those close to them deal with the experience.  Male cancers affect 37,400 men each year in the UK and testicular cancer is the most common among men between 15 and 45.

William’s advice is to stay positive. “For me, cancer became a part of my life which I had no control over. I found it easier to focus on the things that I could control such as my mindset. Keeping positive helped me both mentally and physically.” He added that the best thing partners can do is continue to behave as normal, but be open to talking about it.

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