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A&E calendar boys get naked to raise awareness of testicular cancer

Tuesday, 08 July, 2014
A&E calendar boys get naked to raise awareness of testicular cancer

A team of male A&E staff from a hospital in Northumberland, North East England have this week launched a ‘naked charity calendar’ in a bid to raise awareness of testicular cancer.

Over 20 male colleagues including everyone from reception and domestic staff to healthcare assistants, senior nurses, doctors and A&E consultants, have got behind the campaign to encourage men across the North East, and beyond, to check themselves down below every month.Testicular cancer is one of the most curable of all and early diagnosis can mean a cure rate of 98%.  Sadly, it is something which is not widely talked about and is often a taboo subject amongst those it most commonly affects – young men between 15 and 45 years old.

After their own personal and professional experiences of cancer and caring for patients, male colleagues from the A&E department at Wansbeck General Hospital in Northumberland decided to get naked to help break some of those longstanding taboos and get people talking about testicular cancer.

Craig Leathard, charge nurse at Wansbeck General Hospital, who lives in Ashington, Northumberland, has driven the calendar campaign.  He said:  “There is already widespread awareness amongst women about  breast cancer and we wanted to do something to put testicular cancer on the map too – for men it’s just as important for us to check our balls as it is for women to check their breasts.

“If you find a lump or swelling, or notice any change at all downstairs – whether or not it’s painful – then the very best thing you can do is get it checked out by your GP.  Please don’t ignore it – testicular cancer is one of the most curable and as men we need to stop being so macho and make sure we check ourselves every month.”

Local builder Stephen Halliburton, from Blyth, Northumberland was diagnosed with testicular cancer in December 2009 at the age of 45.  He went along to his GP after being prompted by an awareness campaign and discovering a lump in his testicles.  He was immediately diagnosed and within five days had an operation at North Tyneside General Hospital to remove the lump.

Stephen now has the all clear and didn’t need any follow up chemotherapy treatment following his operation.  Commenting on the calendar campaign, he said:  “I think it’s fantastic what the A&E staff from Wansbeck hospital are doing.  If it wasn’t for an awareness campaign, I would never have checked myself and who knows where I would be now if I hadn’t.

“I found a lump and spoke to my doctor who immediately referred me to hospital in North Tyneside.  The care I received was first class, all very quick and because I discovered the lump so early, I was given the all clear after the op.  I can’t stress enough how important it is for men to check themselves and do it regularly.”

Local MP for Wansbeck, Ian Lavery is also supporting the calendar campaign.  He said: “Cancer is something which affects all of us at some point in our lives but especially for healthcare staff caring for patients day in, day out.  I think it is fantastic that so many staff from the Wansbeck A&E team have got behind the campaign to raise awareness of testicular cancer and get across a really important message for men across the North East.

“The commitment and effort shown by the NHS staff at Wansbeck General Hospital is typically outstanding.  They are brilliant at work looking after the sick and the injured but also in highlighting what is often seen as a taboo subject – great credit to the lads for an outstanding contribution in helping others”.

The naked A&E charity calendar will be sold in Hospital Volunteer Shops (HVS) at Wansbeck, North Tyneside and Hexham general hospitals, for a minimum donation of £5 which will go towards male cancer charity Orchid and the hospital charity Bright Northumbria to help fund research and care for cancer patients.

The whole production of the naked A&E charity calendar has been carried out in the personal time of staff with free photography, design and print.  Thanks to Colin Thompson Photography, Dave Webb Photography, Toucan Communications, Chromazone and PBL Print.

Testicular cancer – know the facts!

  • Testicular cancer is one of the most curable
  • The most common sign of testicular cancer is a lump or swelling in the testicles
  • Know your balls!  Check them every month for any change in size, shape or texture
  • Testicular cancer is most common in young men aged 15-45 years old
  • Any lump or swelling can be about the size of a pea, but may be large
  • In 86% of cases, cancerous lumps in the testicles are not painful
  • Don’t ignore any lumps or bumps – painless or not – get them checked out by your GP
  • If you notice any change down below talk to your GP straight away – don’t delay
  • Testicular cancer is twice as common today as 20 years ago
  • A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum can also be a sign of testicular cancer
  • If you’d had a recent trauma down below you should also talk to your GP
  • Early diagnosis of testicular cancer can mean a cure rate of 98%

For more information about signs and symptoms of testicular cancer and other males cancers visit:  http://www.orchid-cancer.org.uk/Testicular-Cancer
 

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