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Nicol Benn, diagnosed with testicular cancer in June, is urging other young men to be aware of the disease
A YOUNG Tranent man is urging awareness of testicular cancer among his age group - after he almost cancelled the doctor's appointment which confirmed he had the disease.
Nicol Benn was diagnosed with testicular cancer at the start of June, just two months after turning 20.
He has undergone surgery to remove the tumour and is currently receiving a nine-week course of chemotherapy, before further tests to assess its success.
Nicol had suffered pain and noticed a red, swollen area on one of his testicles in May.
Having made an appointment to see his doctor, the part-time care worker called it off a week later - a decision which could have proved costly had he not then changed his mind.
Nicol is now encouraging others who have worries to have them checked out, and put any embarrassment they have to one side.
The Muirpark Grove resident told the Courier: "I made an appointment with the doctor in the middle of May but stupidly thought it would be nothing and said: 'I'll leave it'.
"Then I thought better of it a week later and decided I had better get it checked.
"As embarrassing as it was to have it checked, I'm glad that I did as I was admitted up to Roodlands [Hospital in Haddington] for a scan.
"They said it was testicular cancer but couldn't tell exactly what stage it was at.
"They think they caught it early but they removed the tumour and the testicle.
"Now, I'm receiving chemotherapy and that's just to make sure it is completely gone."
The former Ross High School pupil - who is a keen photographer and works on restoring cars with his dad Robert - added: "Obviously, I wasn't happy with the diagnosis, but there was nothing I could do about it.
"I was a bit upset the first couple of days but I realised that being like that is not going to help me go forward.
"I'm honestly quite happy just going to the hospital and getting on with it. It's more of an inconvenience than anything."
Nicol said he and his friends found it hard to believe when the diagnosis first came through.
"When I found out I was quite shocked. A lot of my friends said: 'How's that possible?'" he explained.
"When I looked into it, I found the prime age [for contracting the disease] is 20 to 35.
"Everybody always thinks cancer is when you're 45, 50, 60, but testicular cancer is especially prime at a very young age.
"I would say to people: don't let anything put you off.
"When I first found there was something not right, I was a bit embarrassed to go to the doctor's.
"I put off the appointment and then thought better of it, because you never know what it could be.
"Anything like that down there, go and get it checked right away. I wouldn't hang about with stuff like that.
"Getting it checked early, there's a lot they can do early doors. There are cases of people putting stuff off for a year and a half because they're embarrassed yet when they finally find out, it's not good."
Nicol has already organised a fundraising disco for family and friends, which takes place at the Royal Musselburgh Golf Club next Friday.
He says he will be happy even if the event - which is sold out - only raises £50.
About 15 of his friends have lined up to have their heads shaved and legs waxed to add to the funds, which will then be donated to Ward 3 at Edinburgh's Western General Hospital - where Nicol is receiving his treatment - and Teenage Cancer Trust, which is supporting a planned refurbishment of the ward.
Robert, 56, who Nicol lives with along with mum Marjorie, 53, and sister Courtney, 25, told the Courier of his son's inspirational attitude since being diagnosed.
"At the beginning it was a huge shock, but his family and his friends have really helped him out," Robert said.
"We are really proud of Nicol, the way he's handled this and what he's trying to do [with the fundraiser] - it was Nicol's idea and we are only helping him.
"Every single person at the hospital that we've dealt with - from the lady at reception to the consultants - have been really nice.
"Nicol doesn't want to go through all this and leave the hospital without trying his very best to help anyone else who will [attend in the future]."
A number of UK charities work to raise awareness of testicular cancer.
Rebecca Porta, chief executive of Orchid Male Cancer Charity, said: "Testicular cancer is the most common cancer amongst young men aged 15-45 and there are 2,000 new cases in the UK every year.
"If caught early enough it has a cure rate of over 98 per cent and yet in over one-third of cases the disease will have spread before diagnosis, highlighting the need for greater awareness amongst young men.
"If you have any health concerns or just want to find out more about testicular cancer you can call Orchid's Male Cancer Nurses on Tuesdays on 0203 465 6105, or alternatively drop them an email at email@example.com"
Have your say. Post a comment on this article.
Aug 9, 21:24
Aug 11, 10:17
Go Nicol!!!! SO pleased you changed your mind about seeing the doctor - you are where I was 12 years ago so I know what you are going through. You WILL get through the 'cancer tunnel' and you WILL emerge into the light again ... might not be quite the same you that entered the tunnel - I have NO desire to repeat my experience, but now that I'm safely through the tunnel I wouldn't change a thing. Life after cancer can be so much richer!!!
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Aug 13, 06:53
Aug 14, 21:20
Thanks everyone! I'm getting on with the treatment pretty well.
Creating more awareness about any type of cancer is needed as many people dont think it will happen to them until it's too late!
Keep and eye out on this page and the paper as i'm holding a fundraiser this weekend so details of how the night went should be in next weeks paper.
Thanks for all the support :)
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