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To mark Movember, a charity initiative held throughout November to raise awareness of men’s health issues, adventurer Charley Boorman reveals how he discovered his own cancer
Charley Boorman gives an affectionate pat to Ziggi, the springer spaniel sitting at his side, and says:”It’s thanks to him and my wife that I’m alive.”
The adventurer and biker, famous for his televised travels both on his own and with best friend Ewan McGregor in TV series such as Long Way Round, has survived numerous crashes and mishaps on the road, and despite them all, he felt fighting fit, apart from one small, niggling problem.
But in January last year, his wife of 24 years, Olivia, took their dog to the vet for his annual check-up. The vet raised concern that one of the dog’s testicles was harder than the other, which could be a sign of testicular cancer.
“By pure coincidence, a few weeks before that I’d mentioned a similar change in one of mine to Ollie.
“Now and then I’d get a throbbing ache there, a bit like after you’ve been kicked where it hurts,” says Boorman, who’s currently touring in his Charley Boorman Live UK Tour.
“It wasn’t really that painful, though, and I’d dismissed it as just one of those aches and pains you get now and again and ignored it.
“In common with many men I was pretty hopeless about having check-ups and had never given much thought to testicular cancer.”
Boorman, 45, is revealing his experience to support Movember – a charity initiative that takes place in November where men worldwide raise funds and awareness of men’s health issues and cancers which affect them, specifically testicular and prostate cancer.
Clean-shaven men are sponsored to grow moustaches during the month and last year, in the UK, £11.7 million was raised for cancer charities.
“Ollie came straight back from the vets and insisted I get myself checked out and even then I still wasn’t alarmed,” he says.
“Reluctantly, I went to the GP and he immediately took it incredibly seriously and everything moved very quickly.”
Around 2,100 cases of testicular cancer are diagnosed every year in the UK.