Every day, 86 people are diagnosed with cancer in London and half of them will not beat their disease. On Saturday we will be joined pre game by volunteers from Cancer Research UK who will be raising money and sharing information around the work they do to help #StandUpToCancer.
There are more than 200 different types of Cancer that can affect both men and women. On Saturday we welcome Orient fan and cancer survivor Doug Harper to the game as a special guest.
Doug has kindly shared his story on how he survived Breast Cancer; a form that many people may not realise can affect both men and women…
Three days before my 50th birthday on 12 January 2012, I joined a group that is rather exclusive. I became only 1 in 300 men that year in the UK to be diagnosed with breast cancer. I have lost count of the amount of people that have said the words "I did not know that men could get breast cancer".
As I was unaware of male breast cancer, I thought that the lump on my nipple was a cyst. Thankfully my partner convinced me that I should go and see my GP. As soon as he saw it, he immediately contacted the hospital and I went for tests within days.
I cannot fully explain how I felt when the Oncologist said that I had cancer, as I was in a daze. Things were being explained to me in that hospital room but I could not take it in. All I could hear was that one word 'CANCER' going through my head repeatedly.
I was due to have a mastectomy two weeks after my diagnosis, but it was delayed by six weeks due to me being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at my pre op. Then a week before my operation, my Mum died unexpectedly. To say it was a tough time is an understatement.
My mastectomy went through without a hitch and I was in and out of the hospital on the same day. It was found that one of my lymph glands had also shown signs of cancer so I had to have those removed two weeks later.
It goes without saying that without the swift work from my GP and the sterling work from those at the hospital, I would be dead now. I have nothing but the utmost gratitude and respect for those in the NHS that looked after me and continue to do so without question.
My Chemo and Radiotherapy finished at the end of 2012, bookending a traumatic year, that I can never forget and whether I like it or not, will define me as 'Doug the fella who has breast cancer'.
I am cancer free now and long may that continue, but the reminder is still there thanks to tablets that I have taken since I was diagnosed and will take for at least another 18 months. Tamoxifen is an evil necessity. It supposedly stops breast cancer coming back, but at a cost. Among my side effects are fatigue, dizziness, memory loss and a massive lack of concentration. Still, I am alive and thank the NHS for that.
So chaps check your moobs for
• A painless lump or thickening in your breast tissue, that can like look like a cyst
• Changes to the skin covering your breast, such as dimpling, puckering, redness or scaling.
• Changes to your nipple, such as redness or scaling, or a nipple that begins to turn inward.
• Discharge from your nipple.
Up The O's
My blog 'One of 300 Men' can be found at dougeharper.wordpress.com
If you would like to find out more information about breast cancer in men please visit: http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/type/rare-cancers/rare-cancers-name/breast-cancer-in-men
If you would like to donate online to Cancer Research UK visit: http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/support-us/donate
Picture of Doug Harper kindly supplied by Dave Winter