After attending the 'Ball of Balls' fundraiser, Maria Rushe discusses why we all need to talk about men's health.
Last night, we attended The Ball of Balls in the beautiful Harvey’s Point in Donegal Town.
This innovative and brave event was created by a group of friends, born from a conversation where they all agreed that Men need to talk about cancer. The committee who brought The Ball of Balls to life was made up of Joan Gallagher, Peter Barry, Deborah Cunningham, Moya O’Leary and assisted by Adrian Pollard.
We enjoyed a champagne reception to beautiful Jazz music, before moving into the ballroom for a divine meal.
Noel Cunningham was host for the evening and spoke passionately about the importance of cancer services in the North West.
Gabriel McCole entertained the audience with his honest and no nonsense account of his own journey with cancer and powerful speech delivered by Deborah Cunningham as we sat to dinner, repeated the line “Men need to talk about cancer”.
And last night, we did. We spoke openly about the importance of checking and going for checks. And I truly hope that every man left the ball with the thought that maybe he should check himself!
It was a wonderful uplifting evening, and the dancing continued long after we had left. We were further entertained by The Bluestack Chorale Choir and the band who kept the floor full all night were The Lock Ins. (If you have an event coming up, check these guys out! Superb!)
Two things shocked me last night:
- Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in young men aged 15 to 34. I wonder how many 15 and 16 year olds would even consider themselves at risk…
- There is NO screening programme in place in Ireland.
And so, alongside the money raised for Cancer Care West last night, the most important success of the night, was the raising of awareness that not only to men need to look after themselves more and talk about cancer, but the women in their lives ALSO need to up our game.
We need to talk to our dads, our brothers, our partners and our sons, whatever their ages, about the importance of paying attention to themselves. We need to normalise talking about men’s cancer issues, just as much as how freely we talk about women’s.
I hope that this event will become an annual one. Bravo to all involved! Job well done.
What to look out for
Cancers which are found early are the most easily treated. It makes sense to know how your body normally looks and feels and this includes your testicles. This will make it easier for you to notice any changes. A swelling or lump in one of your testicles which is not usually painful is the most common sign of testicular cancer, however there are other signs to look out for:
• Small lumps or hardness on the front or side of a testis.
• Swelling or enlargement of the testis.
• An increase in firmness of the testicle.
• A sensation of dragging or heaviness in the scrotum.
• A dull ache in the lower abdomen or groin.
It is important to note that most lumps are benign (harmless) but others may be cancerous and should be treated as quickly as possible. It is unusual to develop cancer in both testicles at the same time, so if you are wondering whether a testis is normal or not, you can compare it with the other.