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Luke Jordan had been feeling uncomfortable "down below" for more than two months before he decided to do something about it.
"I couldn’t find underwear to fit properly, everything felt too tight and I was struggling to get into a comfortable position at night," says Jordan, 29, an online marketer originally from Tamworth.
"I managed to find one comfortable brand of underwear but when even they were beginning to feel tight, I decided to check myself for lumps.
"When I examined myself, I found that one of my testicles felt hard like a conker. I knew straight away that something was wrong and I immediately Googled my symptoms. By the time I’d finished my research, I had convinced myself I had testicular cancer."
A sleepless night followed and Jordan broke the news to his partner, 28, the next morning.
"She had come home from work late the night before so I didn’t want to worry her but next day I took a cup of tea to her and told her about my worries," he says.
"She thought I might be overreacting, but I booked an appointment with the GP who agreed that the lump looked suspicious and referred me to the hospital."
Jordan was sent for blood tests and had an ultrasound scan on his testicles.
Within days he was sitting in a consultant’s office being told that – at the age of 27 and just five months before his wedding – he did indeed have testicular cancer and would need surgery and chemotherapy.
"When the doctors said the word ‘cancer’ out loud I felt like everything around me was going blurry, like how it happens on TV or in films," he says.
"I kept focusing on the floor thinking: ‘Don’t cry’. But when the doctor said: ‘You’ll need to go to the sperm bank tomorrow and then we’ll do surgery the day after’ that’s when I broke down.
"I felt so awkward. The thought of going to a sperm bank was worse than the surgery for me but I needed to do it because the chemotherapy might affect my fertility. My partner was with me and she was so strong and supportive."
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Testicular cancer is diagnosed in 2,400 men in the UK each year – or six every day. It’s the most common cancer in men aged 15-45 with the highest incidence in men aged 30-34. Although it is 98% curable if caught early, the incidents have risen by more than a quarter since the 1990s, according to charity The Robin Cancer Trust.
Jordan decided to be open about his diagnosis and shared his news on Facebook with a jokey message: "Hello! I’ve got cancer. Bit of a ballache."
"Within 20 minutes of the diagnosis I knew that I had to tell everyone," he says. "In the past I’d allowed things to get me down mentally and never really talked about things that were bothering me. But a cancer diagnosis gives you a kick up the backside and if anyone was going to be making jokes about being the bald bloke with one testicle, then I was going to get in there first. And I hoped it might influence other men to check themselves out too.
"The response was crazy. People from all areas of my life – friends, family, people I worked with and those higher up in my industry – got in touch. I was really surprised how many people it reached."
Jordan had surgery to remove the tumour and the testicle and managed to go on his stag do before starting a 16 day course of chemotherapy.
"The chemo wiped me out," he says. "At one point I ended up in hospital for over a week because my immune system was so low and visitors would have to come dressed in full protection.
"But once it was over, I didn’t need anymore treatment although I’m still having checks every few months for five years. Despite officially being all clear, I feel like I don't have closure yet.
"But we went ahead with our wedding and we know that if we want children one day we have options.
"My cancer has given me much more optimism about life and what’s more, I know that my cancer has inspired several male friends – and even strangers - to see their GPs to get lumps checked out.
"It’s great to feel I’ve made some difference and I want to continue that."
Luke credits the underwear brand, JustWears, with helping him spot the disease early on.
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