‘ Told I had cancer just months before first child was born’
DAD-TO-BE DIAGNOSED AGED JUST 33... NOW HE’S URGING MEN TO CHECK THEMSELVES
AYOUNG dad-to-be was diagnosed with testicular cancer while his wife was pregnant with their first child.
Richard Williams, from Llanfairpwll, was only 33 when he received a confirmed diagnosis of the disease, while his wife Sara was six months pregnant.
He first noticed that something was not right in October 2017 when he began experiencing a dull ache in his right testicle which lasted for four days.
When he started experiencing lower back pain, Mr Williams made an appointment with his GP, who originally thought he just had an infection. Shortly after, Mr Williams noticed swelling in the area and he was immediately referred for an ultrasound scan at Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor.
Mr Williams said: “Six days after my scan I visited the Urology Department at Ysbyty Gwynedd where I met my consultant urological surgeon, Mr Thangavelu, who examined me and performed a number of tests.
“The scan and tests confirmed the worst of my fears – I had testicular cancer and the affected testicle would need to be removed.”
Following surgery, Mr Williams had his care transferred to the Alaw Unit at Ysbyty Gwynedd and underwent a course of chemotherapy.
“The chemotherapy was gruelling,” he said. “I lost my hair, and I had tinnitus, nausea and suffered from extreme fatigue. But I had great support from my oncologist, Dr Anna Mullard, who is incredibly caring and very supportive.”
Dr Mullard has praised Mr Williams for speaking publicly about his experience to raise awareness and is now urging all men of any age to make checking their testicles a regular habit.
She said: “This is a cancer of young men – it occurs anywhere between 15 and 45 years of age.
“In 90% of cases a lump will be the first clue that there is a problem, but sometimes it can be a pain, ache or dragging sensation. The great news is that treatments for testicular cancer are very effective.
“Richard is a very brave young man, having to cope with surgery, chemotherapy and the birth of his first child all at the same time. I am honoured and humbled to have met him.”
Fortunately Mr Williams’ treatment finished just weeks before his daughter, Anni, was born.
He said: “Looking back now I am glad that I went to the GP when I did, even though at the time I was embarrassed – but that few seconds of embarrassment saved my life.
“Since my diagnosis, I have spoken a lot more openly about testicular cancer with friends and encouraged them to check themselves more often.
“Dr Mullard recommended an online friendship and support group, ‘Checkemlads’ – I found them extremely helpful to get me through it all.”
Mr Williams hopes that by sharing his story other men will seek immediate medical help if they notice any changes in their body.
Richard Williams with his wife Sara and daughter Anni