Greg Rutherford is urging men to check their testicles regularly after he experienced a cancer scare during lockdown.
The retired Olympic long jumper, 33, described how his “invincibility took a massive knock” when he found a painful lump in one of his testicles.
After putting off getting it checked, Rutherford eventually sought medical advice and tests revealed he had cysts that were “nothing to worry about”.
The dad-of-two hopes sharing his experience will encourage other men to take the time to check their testicles.
“I’m just here asking everyone to check. Even now, during a pandemic, when I think it’s safe to say we’re fearful of wasting doctors and nurses time,” he wrote.
“If you’re a bloke, grab them and make sure nothings wrong. And if your partner won’t check their own balls, maybe offer to do it for them.”
In an Instagram post, Rutherford wrote: “While we were all cooped up in our homes doing our best to steady the horrible scenario that covid had created, to put it bluntly, I found a lump on one of my balls.
“Rather than accept it was there, I ignored it and created distractions like training again and using my physical strength to overpower the unknown. Obviously that didn’t work and my mental health took a bit of a beating when fear set it.
“I didn’t tell Susie [his partner] or anyone close to me until the physical pain and worry got the better of me, then I reached out to a friend who’d suffered badly with testicular cancer. He said what I already knew... GO AND GET IT CHECKED! After an appointment, bloods and a scan I was told it was cysts! BLOODY CYSTS. But most importantly nothing to seriously worry about. I don’t think I’ve felt relief like it.”
Checking your testicles
According to Macmillan Cancer Support, it’s important to check for testicular cancer from puberty onwards.
To do a self-examination at home, hold your scrotum in the palm of your hand and use your fingers and thumb to thoroughly examine each testicle.
Your testicles should feel “smooth and firm but not hard”. You’re looking for lumps and swellings, anything unusual, and differences between the two testicles, although it’s worth noting that it’s normal for testicles to be slightly different sizes or for one to hang lower than the other.
It’s best to check your testicles during or right after a warm bath or shower, as this is when the scrotal skin is most relaxed.
Rutherford concluded: “I feel incredibly grateful I can say it’s nothing serious, but I’ve also realised that while worrying’s a natural response, it solves nothing. Keep checking and if you find something, take it seriously.”
Men are urged to visit their GP or local sexual health services if they are concerned about their testicles.