One dad is using his Christmas lights to spread more than just festive cheer.
Christian Roach, 41, hopes that his Christmas decorations will remind men to check their testicles, after he survived testicular cancer.
The roofer has put up 750 Christmas lights spelling out ‘check your nuts’ (well, technically it’s ‘check yr nuts’, but you get the idea) to celebrate being cancer-free and urge others to check their bits.
Christian struggled with pain in his testicles last December and in January he was diagnosed with cancer.
He needed to have one of his testicles removed and underwent chemotherapy.
The dad-of-three said: ‘I had cancer at Christmas last year but I had no idea.
‘I knew something was wrong and couldn’t properly enjoy Christmas. I am normally very bubbly but my mates and the family said I seemed off.
‘I tried to put on a brave face but people did say I didn’t seem like myself.
‘The message with the lights is massive and really important to me.
‘We trim up with lights every year and I just said this as a joke at first. But Nicola loved the idea and we ran with it.’
Christian first noticed the pain in his groin while he was working on some rooftops, back in October 2018.
He confided in his partner, Nicola Richardson, and went to his GP, but said he was sent home without treatment.
When the pain got worse, Christian went back to his doctor in January and was then sent to hospital for urgent scans.
The next day, tests at Cardiff Hospital revealed he had testicular cancer and that surgery was required to stop it spreading.
Three weeks later Christian had one of his testicles removed.
Christian said: “’I can’t explain what it felt like to be told I had cancer.
‘I would not wish it upon my worst enemy. I have never experienced anything like that in my life.
‘When I went home I could not look my kids in the eyes. My biggest worry was leaving my kids behind.
‘I was very stressed about it and Christmas was a very hard time of the year for me last year.
‘It was a massive relief to get it sorted and I am so pleased I did they right thing to get it checked out.’
Having survived testicular cancer thanks to getting treatment quickly, Christian wants to share his story to urge other men to keep an eye on all aspects of their health.
And he’s also happy to use unorthodox methods – including a flashy Christmas decoration – to hammer home the importance of men checking out their balls.
Since he put the lights up, Christian said he’s had friends getting in touch for advice or mentioning they’ve gone to the doctor.
‘I knew very little about cancer and stuff before but it’s so important to catch it early,’ he says.
‘If you do there is a good chance it can be sorted. I know it’s not nice going to the doctors and pulling out your private parts but it has got to be done.
‘If the lights can help just one man then it has worked.’
How to check your testicles:
Doctors recommend that men should check and examine their testicles monthly for lumps.
The best time to carry out a self-exam is during or after a bath or shower when the skin of the scrotum is relaxed.
Hold the penis out of the way and check one testicle at a time.
Hold the testicle between your thumbs and fingers of both hands and roll it gently between your fingers.
Look around and feel around for any hard lumps or smooth rounded bumps or any change in the size, shape or consistency of the testicles.
It is normal for one testicle to be larger than the other and for one to hang lower than the other so don’t let this alarm you.
You may feel a small bump on the upper or middle outer side of the testicle, this is just the coiled tube for sperm.
When you begin to regularly check your testicles you will know what is normal and what is abnormal.
If you do encounter a lump, pain, or a change in the appearance of your testicle you should contact a healthcare provider right away.
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