BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Saturday, 26 January 2008, 00:03 GMT
A laddish website for lads' disease
By Jane Elliott
Health reporter, BBC News

Phil Morris
Phil's website has received 500,000 hits
When Phil Morris got testicular cancer he was disappointed to find that there were no websites to give him the help he felt he needed.

He did not just want the facts, figures and symptoms of the disease but to be able to talk to others who had it.

He wanted a website that presented testicular cancer as a disease predominantly affecting young men, talking to them in a language they understood.

So, with the help of a number of pop legends, Phil set up his own website.

Targeted help needed

"There was nobody in my area who I knew had it," said Phil.

"There was no-one I knew to ask, 'What can I expect from this? What can I expect from that?'

"All the websites I looked at were the same charity websites with the symptoms."

There was no-one to talk to, no information
Phil Morris

When he first discovered a lump, Phil admits he was blase.

"I was in the shower when I found one of my testicles was a lot bigger than the other and, being an ex-soldier, I just thought, 'Oh it will go away.' The usual men's thing.

"But after three weeks it just hadn't stopped getting bigger and bigger so I went to the doctor. He said it was just an infection and sent me away.

"About four weeks later I was having my treatment for a kidney stone and I asked another doctor about my testicle," he said.

The doctor scanned the testicle, discovered cancer and three days later Phil had the tumour removed.

Good prognosis

Phil is good friends with Steve White, Paul Weller's drummer in the Style Council. He was invited backstage to meet the band at one of their gigs and told them about his health problems and the lack of information. They said they wanted to help.

"I told them that there was no-one to talk to, no information. I said there are loads of breast cancer websites, with forums for survivors but there is nothing for young men and it is a young man's disease.

Early signs
A hard lump on the front or side of a testicle
Swelling or enlargement of a testicle or an increase in firmness of a testicle
Pain or discomfort in a testicle or in the scrotum
An unusual difference between testes
A heavy feeling in the scrotum, or a dull ache in the lower stomach, groin or scrotum.

"The average age for this cancer is between 15 and 35. I got it when I was 34.

"I told them there needed to be something more down to earth, more approachable online and they said they would get me some money together if I thought of a website.

"I said we need a proper lads type of website, where as soon as you go on you start relaxing," he said.

So, four years ago, "" was born and Phil says it is growing in popularity.

"On our website the men grab their 'nuts' and a speech bubble comes out offering information about where to click for each section.

Phil Morris
Phil Morris when he was ill

"There are pictures of me when I was ill and the survivors' stories are there.

"It is what we needed - a laddish approach, not a 'naughty lads' approach but something that will appeal to lads.

"I also go to schools to give light-hearted talks.

"I don't start by saying testicular cancer. I get them relaxed because as soon as you mention testicles they will look at the ceiling. So I will say 'bollocks' and I will say 'knackers'.

Checkemlads front page
Survivors can have their stories on the 'wonderwall'

"I also do talks for the Army. I did one in front of Prince Harry," said Phil.

Now Phil wants to set up a breast cancer website called 'Checkemgirls'.

Signs and symptoms

Martin Ledwick, head of Cancer Research UK's information nurses, said getting the warning symptoms across about testicular cancer was crucial for good survival rates.

"Testicular cancer is one of the few cancers that can affect younger men but it is rare - around 2,000 new cases are diagnosed in the UK each year.

"The good news is that over 98% of men with testicular cancer are now successfully treated.

"If you notice anything unusual, it's important to act right away and report any changes to your doctor.

"Early detection and prompt treatment gives the best possible chance of making a full recovery."

Rally ace fronts cancer campaign
24 Apr 07 |  Mid Wales
Cork ace has testicular cancer op
29 Nov 06 |  Gaelic Games
'I had testicular cancer at 18'
02 Aug 05 |  Health


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific