‘ 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

Bangor Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Amelia Shaw

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

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