Home Breaking News Testicular Awareness Month: Colchester man helping thousands after brother died from grapefruit-sized...

Testicular Awareness Month: Colchester man helping thousands after brother died from grapefruit-sized tumour


The 12 months 2011 will all the time be scarred into Toby Freeman’s reminiscence because the 12 months he misplaced his brother.

In January that 12 months, Toby’s brother, Robin Freeman, aged simply 23, was recognized with stage 4 most cancers.

The prognosis could not have come as extra of a shock – Rob had all the time been wholesome and energetic, and he did not drink or smoke.

So when he out of the blue awoke in the future with a swollen arm, nobody ever imagined it will result in the invention of a grapefruit-sized tumour lodged in his chest and a prognosis of Mediastinal Germ Cell Tumour.

After ten months of chemotherapy, therapy and a stem-cell transplant, Rob and his household got the devastating information that there wasn’t anything medical doctors might do. He handed away, aged 24, on December 10, 2011.

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Before Rob died, his mum promised “he would by no means simply be {a photograph} on the wall” and they’d all the time preserve his spirit alive.

It’s a promise they’ve definitely saved true, with Rob’s title memorialised of their charity the Robin Cancer Trust, which now helps educate thousands and thousands of individuals to boost consciousness, scale back embarrassment and crucially save younger lives by detecting germ cell cancers as early as potential.

At the centre of all of it is, Toby, now 31 and from Colchester, doing every thing he can to avoid wasting lives within the title of Rob’s.

“He was sleeping in his automotive or sleeping on his lunch break”

Toby Freeman together with his brother Rob in 2011 after he was recognized aged 23 with Mediastinal Germ Cell Tumour

What Toby and the remainder of his household did not know was that Rob had been experiencing some signs and indicators that would have led to an earlier prognosis.

“What we did not know as a result of he had moved out was that he was having power fatigue,” Toby stated.

“He was working lots, working 5 days per week after which going to his job and sleeping in his automotive or sleeping on his lunch break. He was additionally waking up with what we now know are night time sweats, like needing to vary the covers and cover dangerous.”

It was solely when Rob moved again dwelling that in the future in mid-January, Toby urged he ought to see the physician.

“I used to be working in a bar on the time so I might get in at 3 or 4am and would unwind watching House then go to mattress,” he stated.

“By a bizarre coincidence the episode earlier than was a couple of blood clot, this guys arm had swollen up. The subsequent morning, my brother got here down and stated’ I’m in a number of ache and my arm is big’. And I stated ‘I believe you may have a blood clot. You have to go to the medical doctors’.”

The Robin Cancer Trust outlines among the key details about testicular most cancers:

  • 2,400 males are recognized with testicular most cancers yearly within the UK – that’s greater than 6 per day

  • Testicular most cancers is 98% curable if detected early – which means males surviving 10 years or extra

  • Testicular most cancers is the most typical most cancers in males aged 15-45 – with the best incidence in males aged 30-34

  • Testicular most cancers is on the rise – incidence charges have elevated by greater than 1 / 4 for the reason that early 1990’s

Signs and signs of testicular most cancers embody a lump, ache, hardness, swelling and heaviness.

If you may have any of those signs, or have found something not regular for you, then you have to go to a medical skilled.

An preliminary GP go to dismissed the swollen arm as “most likely a virus” nonetheless Rob’s mum rushed him to the walk-in clinic after he worsened.

Within ten minutes he was admitted and a collection of checks and samples had been taken.

“After a couple of week in hospital up there with mum, the physician known as us and ushered us right into a facet room,” Toby stated.

“I used to be solely 21 on the time and I knew what the facet room was for. It was the physician, my mum, brother and me and the physician stated Rob you may have mediastinal germ cell tumour.

“My brother was silent staring on the ground, mum was shaking and I stated ‘is that most cancers?’ And he stated sure stage 4. ‘Without therapy, you’ll be lifeless inside two months’.”

For the subsequent 9 months, Rob was in hospital in London for therapy on and off.

It was troublesome for the entire household, together with Toby, who was 21 on the time, battling the information of his brother’s sickness.

“It took his spark away”

Toby and his household arrange the Robin Cancer Trust in 2012 after he handed away

Rob’s entire life appeared to have been ripped away from him within the area of months.

“Rob simply withdrew inside himself,” Toby stated. “He had been fairly sickly as a baby between 13-18 with power fatigue syndrome and had been unwell via youth and unable to do lots.

“That’s why he had been so wholesome and so aware consuming all of the wholesome meals and never doing any of the dangerous stuff. It simply provides to tragedy of all of it, he did not smoke, he did not drink, he appeared after himself.

“We watched Rob go from a assured 23-year-old making jokes, enjoying soccer twice per week, going to the gymnasium day by day to a shadow of himself. It took his spark away.

“We used to joke we had been twins – he was the smart one and I used to be the foolish one however we appeared after one another. He did the sensible stuff and I helped with different stuff.”

“He would by no means be only a photograph on the wall”

Lorna Freeman, Robin’s mum, promised Rob that he “would by no means be only a image on the wall”

In October, Rob was informed his most cancers was terminal. He handed away surrounded by his household two months later that 12 months.

His dying devastated the household however a number of months after they determined to make use of their grief to try to assist others.

“Rob’s dying when it occurred it was, and nonetheless is, the worst factor that ever occurred,” Toby stated.

“I keep in mind we had been sat down round January/February time the next 12 months in 2012 and we sat round desk.

“We had by no means mentioned beginning up a charity however mum all the time promised that he would by no means be only a photograph on the wall, she stated we’ll preserve you alive and inform the grandkids about you.

“We simply determined there was a lack of understanding on the market. When he was unwell, all of us had been googling and I keep in mind there being nothing on the market. You really feel so alone anyway and simply to know on the web is nothing on the market.”

The Robin Cancer Trust has set out the 4 key steps for checking your self – which you have to be doing each single month.

Step One: Check one testicle at a time utilizing each arms (after a scorching tub or bathe)

Step Two: Firmly however gently roll your testicle between your thumb and fingers (don’t squeeze too exhausting!)

Step Three: Get to know your Epididymis (your sperm twine – which will be moderately tender)

Step Four: Feel for the indicators & signs of testicular most cancers – or something not regular for you (it’s regular for one to be greater)

It was from there that the Robin Cancer Trust was born, to cease younger adults like Rob from dying from germ cell most cancers, with Toby, his mum, different brother and pop concerned.

Since it started in 2012, they’ve reached 12 million individuals on-line, engaged with over 175,000 women and men locally and given life-saving instructional talks to over 25,000 younger adults in faculties, schools and companies throughout the area.

“If we will simply assist one different individual that can make all of this simpler going via,” Toby stated.

“We did not need every other household to undergo what we did. If somebody is affected by such a most cancers, hopefully they land on the web site they usually can learn some blogs and a few tales and have data.

“We have seen it go from a really private factor to its personal entity – one of the best factor ever is that it is grown and is greater than us. The Robin Cancer Trust has grow to be a reputation inside itself however we all know its about Rob.”

“‘If I ignore it, it’s going to go away’ and that is not the case”

Toby Freeman, 31, from Colchester, is doing every thing he can to assist unfold consciousness and sort out embarrassment or stigma

One of the driving components behind the charity is to sort out embarrassment, stigma and denial.

For Rob, Toby believes stubbornness was a key issue behind his sickness – one thing which they hope their charity is tackling.

“I believe it was stubbornness about being unwell due to what occurred as a baby and the way wholesome he was,” Toby stated.

“He undoubtedly put it all the way down to stress and being careworn with every thing and it comes all the way down to not listening to your physique and never speaking with the household – if he informed me or mum he was waking up each night time drenched in sweat and could not preserve his eyes awake we’d have stated go to a health care provider.

“It was a stubbornness to confess and considering ‘If I ignore it, it’s going to go away and that is not the case.”

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Over the years of labor with the charity, Toby stated the distinction between testicular and ovarian most cancers is stark.

“Breast most cancers is talked about lots and given a number of information time and rightly so however that is as a result of ladies are higher at speaking about well being issues,” he stated.

“It all comes all the way down to puberty – when ladies undergo what they undergo it creates a way of group and ladies begin speaking about it and it grow to be commonplace. There is a number of empathy there or mums and aunties discuss it and it is far more comfy.

“When guys balls drop they usually get a foolish voice, the banter begins and it is all about who has, who hasn’t, you are huge, you are quick, who has facial hair and it turns into a contest.

“The banter and humour attracts us inwards and you don’t need it talked about and do not need to discuss it sooner or later.”

Breaking world data

2,400 males are recognized with testicular most cancers yearly within the UK – greater than 6 per day

Given 2,400 males are recognized with testicular most cancers yearly within the UK – greater than six per day – it’s essential that this stigma and embarrassment is tackled.

It might come as a shock to some that testicular most cancers is commonest in males aged 15-45, with charges growing greater than 1 / 4 for the reason that early 1990’s.

While these figures could also be scary – it is among the most curable types of most cancers and if caught early is 98 per cent curable which is why month-to-month self-checks are so necessary.

When Covid-19 got here alongside nonetheless, with the ability to get out into faculties, companies and schools out of the blue turned a problem on prime of funding worries.

2,400 males are recognized with testicular most cancers yearly within the UK – greater than 6 per day

Earlier this 12 months, Rob had the concept to create a digital occasion to interrupt data by having as many individuals checking themselves as potential.

With April as Testicular Awareness Month, the Robin Cancer Trust launched an invitation to convey as many males collectively as potential to attempt break the world report for ‘the biggest simultaneous self-check for testicular most cancers’ just about.

They smashed the report with 260 males from throughout the globe checking their balls on zoom collectively (beneath underwear).

“We had been sat there and filmed it, 260 guys assembly up in 23 nations on 5 totally different continents – we had guys from New Zealand, Malawi, the US, Caribbean Islands and all throughout Europe.

“It was completely superb. They all checked themselves and might now go unfold consciousness of their nations now they know this data.”

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Toby’s last message is to ensure you discuss to individuals – whoever it’s, ensure you inform them if one thing is flawed and you may get it sorted as quickly as potential.

“Just discuss to somebody, it may be anybody it does not should be a health care provider, simply somebody you’ll be able to speak in confidence to,” he stated.

“If you might be nervous or embarrassed about medical doctors then discuss to them and point out it in the event you discover that individual you’ll be able to discuss to.

“Even if are embarrassed, that second of your embarrassment shouldn’t be price your life.”

For extra data or to become involved with the Robin Cancer Trust, click on right here.