British and Irish Lions Test series winner Alex Corbisiero has revealed a recent battle with testicular cancer. In Japan to cover the World Cup for American television, the 31-year-old discovered a lump the size of a pumpkin. Surgery and chemotherapy were the result and having now recovered, the ex-prop is urging greater awareness among men about the problem.
In an interview with The Times, ex-England international Corbisiero explained: “I just felt something wasn’t right. I could tell it felt a bit bigger, a bit harder, it was starting to get a little bit sore. I started to notice bumping into it. I had been keeping an eye on it for a couple of weeks and it felt like it was growing every day.
“Finally when I had a break I went to get it checked. It was always on my radar slightly because my dad had testicular cancer when he was 28. I was still in denial.
“I was going to get this checked and then go to jiu-jitsu. My brother was waiting in the car. Next thing I had to call him and say: ‘Hey bro, I have got testicular cancer’.
“The doctor said: ‘Very few people die from this’. That was my initial thought: ‘I don’t want to die’. You are in shock and very emotional. You can’t believe it all changed on that day and you are dealing with this,” said the former Northampton front row who scored for the Lions in their series-clinching win over Australia in 2013.
“I have unbelievable respect for people who have to go through longer stints. I reacted to it very strongly. Within two hours I felt very ill. It was rough. Your mind, you are playing with anxiety and your thoughts.
“This was a real test. I failed at times, I let myself down at times and let it get the better of me. I was scared about it, especially at the start. You feel very vulnerable.
“You feel insecure. Your confidence is low. I let it defeat me at times but that is the whole journey. You get caught up in it. Even when you know it is going to be OK, you are still nervous about it.
“Your inner voice is saying: ‘You are out of shape, you are damaged goods, you have got one ball’. All this stuff is going through your head all the time that you have to battle and fight with.”
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