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Me, My Brother And Our Balls: Love Island Star Chris Hughes’ Documentary About Testicular Cancer

Testicular cancer is a relatively rare type of cancer, accounting for just 1% of all cancers that occur in men. Each year, around 2,300 men are diagnosed. Catching the cancer early is important. Reducing the risk that the cancer has spread to other parts of the body at any stage of testicular cancer is also vital. Love Island star Chris Hughes’ BBC documentary helped to raise more awareness on testicular cancer.  The documentary ‘Me, My Brother and Our Balls’ was an intimate and personal account that aired in 2020 on the BBC. It follows the story of Chris and his brother Ben and their journey with testicular cancer. Chris made headlines back in 2018 when he underwent a live testicular exam on ITV’s This Morning. Since leaving Love Island and subsequently amassing an astonishing 2.1 million Instagram followers, he decided to use his platform to help raise awareness. What he didn’t foresee was the impact it would have closer to home. The exam prompted thousands of men across the UK to check their own testicles, including Chris’ brother Ben. After checking himself, Ben found a lump in his testicle and after visiting the doctor, was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Luckily, Ben has now had the treatment he needed and has had the testicle removed leaving him cancer-free. However, he revealed in the documentary that his fertility has been affected. Since the operation, he now only has a 20% chance of conceiving. Prior to his operation, Ben froze his sperm for potential use after the operation. It was during this process that he discovered his sample didn’t contain any sperm at all. The documentary shows Ben’s journey, both physically and emotionally, upon being diagnosed. Ben was determined to include the emotional scenes in the documentary. These include a scene where he tells his girlfriend he may now struggle to conceive. His aim was to raise awareness of the consequences of testicular cancer and how the side effects are not always medical. In the documentary, both boys air concerns about fertility and embark on a journey to find out what the future holds for them. Chris discovers how his fertility has changed since he was last tested over 6 years ago. Ben also learns about his fertility prospects since receiving his diagnosis. There are scenes where Chris and Ben chat with their friends about the causes of male infertility. The scenes show that the stigma around speaking openly about these issues with friends and highlights how important it is to do so. They meet with one of the UK’s leading experts and learn more about infertility and sperm health. In the documentary, they also learn how infertility affects masculinity from a GB Olympic rower. They use this platform to consider how their fertility struggles could impact their family, relationships, and their girlfriends in the long term. Since his appearance on This Morning, Chris has won praise for raising awareness of testicular cancer. He has helped to remind his audience to check their testicles regularly. On the show, he lowered his pants in order for Dr Chris Steele to show how an examination takes place. Not only did this raise awareness but also showed men, particularly of a younger generation, how simple, quick and painless the checks can be. Many younger men, as well as women who are invited for cervical smears, often do not attend appointments for checks simply because they are unaware of how easy they are. On TV, Chris also showed a long scar on his testicle as he spoke about his own health scare. He discussed his family history with presenters Phillip Schofield and Rochelle Humes. He then went on to talk about his male relative’s problems with testicular cancer. He said “I wanted to do it initially as my cousin had testicular cancer, which became secondary in his abdomen. He missed it initially. I’ve had operations on my testicles, which plays out within the documentary.” Testicular cancer is one of the less common cancers, and mostly affects men between 15 and 49 years of age. The testicles are an important part of the male reproductive system. They produce sperm and the hormone testosterone, which plays a major role in male sexual development. Typical symptoms of testicular cancer are a painless swelling or lump in the testicles, or any change in shape/texture. It is important if you find any changes that you get checked by a doctor as soon as possible. The sooner testicular cancer is caught the better. There are different types of testicular cancer, classified by the types of cells the cancer forms in. This most common type of testicular cancer, which accounts for around 95% of cases, is germ cell cancer. Germ cells are a type of cell that creates sperm. There are 2 main subtypes of germ cell testicular cancer, which are seminomas and non-seminomas. Non-seminomas are the most common, including teratomas, embryonal carcinomas, choriocarcinomas, and yolk sac tumours. However, seminomas have become more common in the past 20 years, now accounting for around 40-45% of testicular cancers. Both of these subtypes tend to respond well to chemotherapy. The rarest forms of testicular cancer include Leydig cell tumours and Sertoli cell tumours, which account for around 1-3% of cases. Overall, testicular cancer only accounts for 1% of the cancers that occur in men. However, it is incredibly important to check your testicles regularly to spot any changes quickly. At The Insurance Surgery, we provide insurance policies for those affected by medical conditions, including testicular cancer life insurance. If you need help to protect your loved ones after being diagnosed or beating testicular cancer, we can help. You can fill in a quote form on our website here. A member of our expert team will then get back to you to discuss your circumstances and cover.