All posts by Ian Arnison-Phillips

Baggy Trousers UK founder Jack Broadley

Meet the Team: Jack Broadley

Welcome to the first edition of our new blog series – meet the team! It does exactly what it says on the tin! Gain an insight into the lives of the people who run, support or volunteer for Baggy Trousers UK.

We start the series with our founder Jack Broadley.

1) What does your role involve for Baggy Trousers UK?

I started at Baggy Trousers UK on the 14 August 2014, day one of it being a charity, from idea on a piece of paper that included the goals and aspirations to raise awareness of the battle I’d just been through to hopefully save lives and offer a listening ear to those diagnosed. Since then, I’ve done every role you could think of at Baggy Trousers UK, these days I’m a trustee, I focus on our support services and day to day running of the charity, no two days are the same.

2) Where were you born and where are you from now?

I was born in Ashton-under-Lyne, I spent a short time living in sunny Scotland before heading back to reside in Tameside.

3) What do you do for a job away from the charity?

Since setting up Baggy Trousers UK, I joined an incredible digital agency called Reason Digital that works with lots of pro-social organisations supporting them with their digital solutions providing a better service and support to people they provide services to. I also trained to be an accountant and set up an accounting practice which I’m currently building, and I also work with another charity that raises awareness of the signs and symptoms of cancer to teenagers and those in their twenties.

4) How do you take your tea or coffee?

Has to be Yorkshire Tea with 2 sugars and a drop of milk, tea bag has to sit for a little while to brew.

5) Have you had experience of testicular cancer, either first or second hand?

I was diagnosed with stage 2 non-seminoma mature teratoma (a bit of a mouthful). Basically an aggressive type of testicular cancer that spread to my abdominal lymph nodes, this required surgery to remove the testicle and a gruelling 9 weeks of chemotherapy treatment.

6) How often do you check yourself?

Before being diagnosed with testicular cancer I never checked and had no idea what I would have been looking for, I check my remaining nut at least once a month.

7) What did you want to be when you were a kid?

I wanted to be a race car driver.

8) What was the last book you read and the last film you watched?

The last book I read was The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and the last film I watched was The Beekeeper with Jason Statham, another one of his incredible films.

9) If you could swap places with anyone for the day, who would it be and why?

I would probably swap places with an F1 driver to understand what it feels like to be behind the wheel of an F1 car.

10) What is your favourite BTUK blog?

All the blogs we create are incredible (I’m slightly biased), the one that has a special place in my heart is ‘Music for Merrick’. Myself and Jess (our treasurer) travelled down to a fundraiser organised by an amazing family in aid of the work we do, we had the chance to meet Jamie who despite having chemotherapy the same day as the fundraiser, was a ray of sunshine and such a kind and gentle man. The whole team and I here at Baggy Trousers UK were saddened to hear that Jamie passed away a few months after the fundraiser. That blog is now a tribute to Jamie and a piece of his legacy which will remain on the website forever.

11) What is your favourite genre of music?

I enjoy all types of music, but my favourite is probably house music.

12) What’s the best place you have ever been to?

The best place I’ve ever been to has to be Scotland, I enjoy walking in the mountains and thanks to my dad started doing the Munro’s in 2017. I hope to one day follow in his footsteps and climb all 282 of them.

13) What do you hope to achieve with BTUK?

I hope to continue providing support to those impacted by testicular cancer and saving lives for as long as I’m alive. Having somebody to talk to that has been through a similar experience was vital for me when I was going through treatment which is why we have peer support volunteers and people kindly raising awareness.

14) Tell us something not many people would know about you!

I delivered a talk at a teenage and young person’s cancer event about people you meet during your cancer journey who unfortunately pass away. It’s by far the hardest talk I’ve delivered but the response and empathy I received from the hundreds of young people diagnosed with cancer in the audience brought me to tears.

Fancy becoming part of a team that makes a real difference?

Here at Baggy Trousers UK we are always looking for new ways to raise awareness and offer support. This includes welcoming volunteers and expanding on the team we already have. Over the coming weeks we will release a few more blogs in this series, revealing the names and faces behind our charity, and what they do for us.

If you are interested in becoming a trustee for BTUK then we are more than happy to have that conversation. What we do has a real impact on people’s lives, helping those impacted by testicular cancer and going through treatment. It is extremely rewarding and an incredibly important role to raise awareness, release the stigma, and save lives.

For more information contact us using our contact form, or get hold of us on Facebook, Instagram, or X (Twitter).

No Frills Guide on How to Check Your Nuts

Testicular cancer awareness month is in full swing and with it comes our no frills guide on how to check your nuts! It’s extremely important that you regularly examine your testicles as it may one day just save your life. It’s normal for one of your boys to be bigger or hang lower than the other, so this is definitely nothing to worry about.

For anything else that may concern you, or to make sure you’re always on the safe side, follow this simple step by step guide on how to check your nuts!

Take a shower

It’s not mandatory that you have to clean your balls before you check them, but it does help to relax them beforehand. A warm shower will relax your skin and allow for a closer or better examination than if you were to do it after work or the gym, for example. If you get into a routine of always checking after you have a shower, it will become second nature and as frequent as it should be to be on the safe side.

Use your thumb and first two fingers

You want to examine one testicle at a time. Take each one between your thumb and your first two fingers. Roll them around the testicle, applying a consistent gentle pressure, to feel for any lumps or changes in size, shape or consistency. Take your time and don’t worry if it feels a little tender, this is normal. You should only be concerned if there is real pain when you touch them.

Get familiar with your epididymis

The often forgotten about epididymis is just as important to check as your testicles. This is the tube like part of the scrotum located behind the testicles. It should feel rope like and tender under pressure, this is absolutely normal. Again, feel for any lumps or changes in size or shape.

Don’t panic if you notice something strange

The vast majority of lumps, bumps or changes in shape or size found in the testicles are usually not cancerous. Many instances of this end up being cists or fatty build-ups that can be easily remedied. So don’t panic if you do find something, it may end up being nothing to worry about at all.

Get it looked at straight away

However, either way, it is extremely important that you get it checked out as soon as you can. Visit your GP and they will advise you on the next steps, which may or may not include having an ultrasound scan. If caught early enough testicular cancer is highly curable, with a 95% survival rate. But again it does depend how early you detect it.

Not just in testicular cancer awareness month!

So gentlemen, please, in the month of April start to develop the habit of repeating these steps as often as you can. Then make it a frequent thing moving forward for the rest of your life – you never know – it may one day save it!

5 Things You May Not Know About Testicular Cancer

April is testicular cancer awareness month. Throughout the next 30 days, charities like Baggy Trousers UK will be doing more than ever to raise awareness and funds to help support those experiencing testicular cancer. Sadly, over 2400 people in the UK are diagnosed with testicular cancer every year. If detected early though, the chances of a full recovery are extremely high.

This is why raising awareness and reducing any embarrassment around the subject is vital, not only throughout April, but all year round too. To help improve understanding and encourage more people to check their balls, we’ve come up with 5 things you may not have heard about testicular cancer.

1. It is 95% curable if detected early

The lifetime risk of dying from testicular cancer is around 1 in 5000, if detected early. Okay, so it might be a bit much to start right off the bat with death, but this is perhaps the most important fact of them all. The earlier you detect it, the easier your recovery will be. It is as simple as that. Treatment is so effective that the chances of a full recovery are excellent – but again – only if you check your balls often enough to find it.

Therefore, fellas, fondling your balls on a regular basis is extremely important. And let’s be honest, a lot of fun too, so why not?

  1. Sit back and relax after a warm shower (steady now, don’t get too excited) as your skin will be at its most relaxed.
  2. Take your time, and check one at a time.
  3. Take one testicle between your first two fingers and your thumb and roll them around with gentle pressure.
  4. Check for any lumps or changes in shape, size, colour or consistency.
  5. Do the same for your epididymis (your spermatic chord / the tube-like thing at the back of the testicle).

It’s normal for the epididymis to feel tender under gentle pressure. Also, don’t panic if you do notice a lump or anything concerning, most of the time it is not cancer. However, it is important that you visit your doctor as soon as you can to have it checked out.

More information on how to check your nuts.

2. One of the most common cancers for young men

Overall, testicular cancer is relatively rare, making up just 1% of all cancers in men. However, it is the most common type to occur in men between the ages of 15 and 49. Although men past their 50s can and are still affected by testicular cancer, the chances of you getting it are a lot higher in your twenties and thirties.

3. Exact causes are still unknown

Despite research, the exact causes of testicular cancer are still largely unknown. For example, we know that smoking severely increasing chances of lung cancer, but there is no equivalent for testicular cancer. However, based on statistics from previous patients, there are a number of factors that can increase your risk of developing it.

Rather curiously, Caucasian men have a higher risk of getting testicular cancer than men from other ethnic groups, and so do taller men. Twins also have an increased risk of testicular cancer, especially if they are identical. Other factors include a family history of testicular cancer, or if you are born with an undescended testicle.

4. Testicles are removed through the abdomen

If you do find a lump that is concerning, your GP may advise you to have an ultrasound scan and some blood tests. You may also see a urologist, which is a specialist that diagnoses and treats disorders of the bladder, kidneys, prostate, ureters and male reproductive organs.

If they determine from your scans and blood test results that your testicle may have a cancerous tumour, it will need to be removed to be tested. The operation is called an orchidectomy.

What a lot of people don’t know is that in most cases this is done via the lower abdomen. Your scrotum (ballbag) is left untouched. The operation will result in a scar on one side of your lower abdomen, much similar to those who have had their appendix out.

5. You can have a ball job!

Breast augmentations (boob jobs) have been around since the 60s, but did you know you can have a ball job too? Before an orchidectomy, a testicular cancer patient is offered the choice of having a prosthetic replacement. The vast majority of young men will take the prosthetic option, but older men are more likely to turn it down and live with one testicle.

These are made of silicone, much similar to the material used in any other augmentation procedure, and come in a range of different sizes. They feel slightly firmer to the touch, but visually from the outside no different at all. Just don’t expect to be on page 3 with them anytime soon.

References

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/testicular-cancer/

https://www.cuh.nhs.uk/patient-information/insertion-of-an-artificial-testicle/