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Cancer survivor urges young men to speak out and save their lives

Northern Ireland man Daniel Simpson, who fought cancer as a teenager, is backing Men’s Health Week and is urging local men to keep a careful check on their health.

Daniel, who is now 35, was just 17 years of age when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer, which by the time he was brave enough to speak to his GP, had spread throughout his body.

“When I was 16 or 17 I was experiencing a lot of back pain, these symptoms continued for over a year before I saw my GP who originally thought it was a kidney infection because I was too young and shy to mention a huge swelling on one of my testicles,” explained Daniel, who is now married with two children.

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“I was immediately rushed to the Ulster Hospital, and because I ignored the symptoms for so long the cancer had spread to my lungs, kidney, stomach and lymph nodes.

Daniel Simpson with his wife Aswalia and daughters Imara and Ayla is supporting Cancer Focus during Men's Health Week

“After chemotherapy and a major operation that consumed most of the following year, I was incredibly given the all clear.”

The Comber man is urging young men to take the potentially life saving step of speaking out if they have concerns about their health

“My advice for young men is to please get checked out for anything you feel is not normal,” Daniel continued.

“If you have any symptoms, visit your GP as soon as you can, it is nothing to be embarrassed about. It could save your life.”

Cancer survivor Daniel Simpson is urging men to keep a check on their health

Men’s Health Week, which runs from June 13 - 19, is being supported by local charity Cancer Focus NI.

Cancer has a major impact on the health of men in Northern Ireland with around 7,700 diagnosed with the disease each year – but more and more men are surviving and thriving.

Anthony Stuart, Community Wellbeing Manager with Cancer Focus NI said: “Our message is positive: over the last ten years male cancer survival rates have increased by 16.7%. By being body aware and detecting cancer at an earlier stage there are so many more options for treatments, leading to better outcomes.

“As well as being body aware, it’s important to take steps to reduce your risk of getting cancer. Up to 40% of all cancers can be prevented with a healthier lifestyle and seeking appropriate support.

“There are some simple guidelines that everyone can follow - keep to a healthy weight, eat healthily, be active, take care in the sun, limit alcohol, don’t smoke, attend cancer screenings if eligible and get unexplained changes in your body checked out by your doctor. It’s our mission to encourage men to take action and improve their health, and these days men seem more aware of preventable health problems and the importance of seeking early medical advice and treatment, which is great news.”

Cancer Focus NI has a comprehensive range of services geared towards making it easier for men to get health checks and discuss their concerns. These include the Keeping Well van, which brings checks and advice to sports clubs, workplaces, colleges and leisure centres.

The charity brings stop smoking support and information talks to community and health centres and other venues. There are also free counselling and support services for men and their families, a confidential Nurse Line (0800 783 3339) for support and advice, and therapeutic activities such as singing, art and creative writing.

To find out more about the Keeping Well van or other services email [email protected], call 028 9066 3281 or visit www.cancerfocusni.org

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