Matt Wakefield

Testicular cancer

Matt Wakefield and his familyWhen and where did you first notice signs of your cancer? Was there something out of the ordinary that prompted you to check yourself?

I first found a small pea sized Lump on my left testicle in October 1999 but out of ignorance/ embarrassment I ignored it. It wasn’t till June 2000 I found it started to hurt and the Lump was a lot bigger I went told my mum and then saw the doctors who sent me to the hospital.

Did you check yourself regularly or were you aware of the signs and symptoms of male cancer before you were diagnosed?

I knew nothing about testicular cancer prior to my diagnosis but I check myself now twice a week in the bath.

How did you feel when you were first diagnosed? Did your feelings change during your treatment?

The day I was diagnosed I was scared. I thought I was going to die and I was angry with myself for having ignored it. But the day after I fought back and went on the offensive. I was going to beat this!

Please give us a brief explanation of your treatment

I had a left side orchidectomy and radiotherapy.

Was there a particularly difficult or distressing part of your treatment or your cancer journey?

The feeling of being alone and lack of information was the hardest. It would have been great to have known someone else who had been thru it and who I could have spoken to. The lack of awareness at the time was disgusting, it’s now gradually getting better but more needs to be done.

What is the most important thing your family and friends did to support you?

They were there for me to talk to.

Do you believe the experience has changed you as a person? If so, in what way?

At first I was embarrassed about what I had been thru. This lasted for over 8 years and I call this period of my life ‘the testicle closet’. It wasn’t till I met other survivors and patients on facebook I came out the closet and spoke about it more. I did the testicle tour in London last July and done some of my own fundraising and awareness campaigns and now feel better in myself. And I’ve had FUN doing it!

What medical or emotional support would you like to be offered in the future to support you after your treatment ends?

Again, to have been put in touch with someone who had been thru the same experience.

What would be your message to other men affected by male cancer? What would be your message to their partners?

Check your testicles regularly. Don’t die of ignorance and there is nothing to be ashamed of having one nut!

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