A local mum-of-two is urging parents to check their children this April for Testicular Cancer Awareness Month after her son was diagnosed – aged just six years old.
Nicola Barksby realised something was wrong in 2019 during bath time when she noticed six-year-old Jake’s left testicle had become larger than his right. Only a week later they received the devastating cancer diagnosis.
Thankfully, Jake has since received the all clear and now, Nicola is determined to help other parents spot the signs of testicular cancer.
Nicola, who lives in Hucknall, is working alongside local charity PASIC – cancer support for children and young people, to highlight the importance of checking young children for testicular abnormalities.
“Prior to Jake’s illness I’d never heard of children being diagnosed with testicular cancer,” she said.
“We were so shocked – I thought it was something only older men could get.”
Shortly after diagnosis, Jake had surgery to remove his testicle and began a course of chemotherapy.
Speaking about this time, Nicola said: “Jake insisted on a thumbs-up photo following each chemo session and we have a lovely selection of photos each with a beaming smile, even on the poorliest of days.”
Jake finished treatment in December 2019 and, now aged seven, has been in remission for over a year. His family hope to use their experiences to raise awareness of testicular cancer in children.
“Thankfully it’s rare in children Jake’s age and we were lucky to catch it early enough. But it scares me to think how many more parents, like I was, are unaware of it.
“My advice to all parents is, testicular cancer can happen at any age. Please keep an eye on your young children and take a moment to familiarise yourself with what should look right, and what looks wrong.”
Louise Towse, PASIC CEO says: “Jake’s story shows that, while rare, testicular cancer can, and does, affect young boys. Alongside Jake’s family we have also supported the family of a nine month old baby boy with testicular cancer. Fortunately this type of cancer is very curable when identified early. We would therefore urge all parents of boys to be testicular cancer aware. We would also encourage parents to have frank and open discussions with slightly older sons to ensure young people know how to check themselves and seek medical advice for any abnormalities.”