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'I wasn't angry because I had cancer. I was angry because I should have been told 22 months earlier'.

Byline: Mark Smith Health Correspondent mark.smith@walesonline.co.uk

CARPENTER Ceri Jones described himself as the "happiest man in the Rhondda" when he found out he was going to be a dad for the first time.

But his elation quickly turned to fear and anguish when doctors diagnosed him with an aggressive form of testicular cancer just four months after his daughter was born.

So to raise awareness of the condition which could have claimed his life, the 35-year-old has taken part in a naked photoshoot ahead of World Cancer Day on Thursday "It was really bizarre being butt naked in a room full of strangers, but it was a good laugh," said Ceri, who travelled from his home in Ferndale to London for the shoot last month.

"If you think there's something wrong with you then you need to get it checked.

"Some men who find a lump can be a bit macho about it, but it could save your life."

Ceri said he first found a lump in his testicle in October 2013, but after seeing his GP he was told it was a benign cyst and didn't need to worry.

"I left not feeling too happy," he added.

"I know my own body and I was convinced it was more than that."

The problem continued to persist, and in March 2015 he decided to see his doctor again when the lump doubled in size.

But once again he was told not to panic and was sent home without being referred for a scan.

"One day in July 2015 I woke up with a real aching feeling, and my fiancee convinced me to go back for a third time," said Ceri.

"By this stage I was a bit paranoid that I was wasting the doctor's time. But on this occasion I saw a different doctor who was amazing and straight away booked me in for an ultrasound."

In August 2015, after a scan at Ysbyty Cwm Rhondda in Llwynypia, he was given the news he dreaded.

"I was hit by a feeling of anger and relief," he said. "I wasn't angry because I was told I had cancer. I was angry because I should have been told 22 months earlier.

"The relief was because I now knew what I was facing and how we were going to deal with it."

Ten days after his diagnosis, Ceri was admitted to Royal Glamorgan Hospital near Llantrisant for an operation to remove the lump.

"I wasn't really nervous. I just wanted to get that bad boy whipped out as soon as possible," he joked.

Returning to the hospital at the end of September, Ceri saw his oncologist to receive his scan results.

They revealed he had an aggressive 3.5cm seminoma tumour which had spread into his blood vessels.

To substantially reduce this risk of the cancer from spreading to his stomach from 30% to 3%, the oncologist sent Ceri for one strong dose of carboplatin chemotherapy at Velindre in Cardiff.

"I really hope I don't have to go through chemotherapy again," he said. "The feeling of constantly thinking you're going to be sick is something I don't want to experience again.

"I have nothing but respect for anyone who has to go through three, four or five sessions."

Throughout his treatment, Ceri said he was unable to properly take care of his baby daughter Catrin.

"It was a difficult period. My fiancee Kristy was on maternity leave and I didn't get any sick pay as I'm selfemployed," he said.

"Kristy was absolutely amazing. She basically acted like a single mum for a while."

Ceri then became involved in the naked photoshoot after meeting Ben Bowers from the Movember Foundation.

Ben who has had testicular cancer twice, runs a support and social group for other testicular cancer sufferers in his spare time in which they affectionately refer to each other as the "One Offs".

Ceri added: "For a complete stranger to be so helpful and generous is amazing. To be able to have someone to talk to for advice, and who's been through it themselves has been absolutely invaluable.

"Right now, I'm cancer free. I had my first lot of blood tests at Velindre at the end of January and so far I have heard nothing back. No news is good news.

"My family, friends and fiancee have been amazing."

Ceri joined forces with leading cancer charities Cancer Research UK, Breast Cancer Care, Anthony Nolan and the Movember Foundation for World Cancer Day.

Together, their aim is to unite everyone together and help transform the lives of millions of people affected by the disease.

They have created Unity Bands which are available from each charity in their own colours at www.worldcancerday.co.uk for a suggested donation of PS2. All money raised from the Unity Bands will go towards the charities' research projects and support services.

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Ceri Jones, from Ferndale, took part in a naked photoshoot as part of World Cancer Day
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Feb 2, 2016
Words:835
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