Nigel’s Story

Life lessons from football

I played all sorts of sports when I was at school, but when I left I settled on playing football. Lots of it.

I’m old now, so I can’t play any more. But I still remember one of the physios at a club I played at telling us all about “checking yourself out”. I was probably 21 or 22 when I learnt that this was a good thing to do. From then on it became something that I did every now and then, even in my 50s. Told you I was old!

Finding a lump

At age 56 I found a lump during one of my checks, and went straight to see the GP. I then got sent for ultrasound.

It’s difficult to say that I wouldn’t have found the lump if I hadn’t been checking, but I probably wouldn’t have found it so quick. And if it hadn’t been for that physio’s talk I may not have gone to my GP straight away. If I hadn’t known to deal with it, I think it would have been a bigger lump and a bigger problem by the time I got my diagnosis, and possibly much more serious.

A shock result at ultrasound

Waiting for the ultrasound appointment wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad either. I thought everything would be fine. After all, testicular cancer is a young man’s illness, isn’t it?

I had an early appointment on a Friday morning, so I took the day off work and went with my wife Laura to the hospital. Even in the room with the gel on my balls, I thought it would all be fine. But it wasn’t. One ball OK, the other not.

The radiographer asked me to wait while she spoke to her senior colleague… Well, to cut a long story short, he wanted to see me straight away. I had a bit of a panic then, and I still had to tell Laura, who was sitting in the BRI (Bristol Royal Infirmary) waiting area.

Anyway, I went to see this chap on the top floor of the BRI. He said, “it doesn’t look good”, and he’d already talked to the surgeon. A bit shocking really. It was all in a flash.

The surgeon came to see me and said it had to come out – no messing about, no sensitive discussion, just, “I’ve seen lots of these and it’s cancer, and I’ll take it out”.

The good news was that he said he could add me to his list on the Monday!

And he did, and now I’m a bit lighter on my left-hand side.

My message to you

I’m back at work now after a successful session of chemo. I’ve been very open with my employer and everyone I work with from day one and with all my family and friends too. They all know that men must check themselves often (but not on the bus or at the office!)

My message to you is this: Just take a minute to have a feel, because it could save your life – and why wouldn’t you want to save your life?


Follow Nigel’s example, and do something quick, simple but powerful for your health.

 Pledge today to check your balls monthly, and join our ever-growing community!