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Friday, 15 March, 2002, 06:44 GMT
Rock star's testicular cancer campaign
Stuart Cable checks himself in a cancer awareness campaign
Young men are being told to check themselves
Stereophonics drummer Stuart Cable is urging young men to look out for the warning signs of testicular cancer, in a BBC Wales social action campaign.

The south Wales rock star has defended the attention-grabbing nature of the initiative, called BLLCKS.

BLLCK Cancer Facts
1,600 cases a year
18-35s most at risk
95% survival rate if detected early
The campaign by BBC Wales's Education Department is supported by the Welsh Assembly Government.

It is aimed at stripping away the stigma surrounding the disease, and urges young men to check themselves for abnormalities.

Cwmaman-born musician Cable - known for his straight talking and no-nonsense approach - said he was pleased to be taking part in the project.

As well as appearing on posters, Cable appears in a series of television promos aimed at the 18-35 year age group.

Stuart Cable of the Stereophonics
Stuart Cable was chosen for his upfront personality

He talks frankly about testicular cancer, assuring young men that it will not stop them being a "love god", or prevent them from fathering children.

Cable said he hoped the publicity would dispel the embarrassment which dissuaded men from talking about testicular cancer.

"I think it's a male ego thing," he said.

"I know for a fact that most blokes don't check themselves - they think it's never going to happen to them.

"Nobody wants to have some bloke at the doctors feeling your nads.

"But if it's the difference between life and death, I don't mind who's got their hands on my b*ll*cks.

"Next time you're in the bath or shower, check 'em out!"

There are 1,600 new cases of testicular cancer in Britain every year.

Denise Welch
Denise Welch appears in a hard-hitting drama

But doctors say there is a 95% success rate if the symptons are caught early enough.

The campaign is being supported by a TV drama, Facing Demons, starring Denise Welch, John Alderton and Vincenzo Pellegrino, to be shown on BBC One Wales on Tuesday 19 March.

A series of five short films about testicular cancer will be shown on BBC Wales television from Friday.

The initiative is also being promoted via beer mats, credit cards and stress balls.

Research published in June 2001 suggested the number of men dying from testicular cancer in the UK had fallen by almost three quarters in less than a decade.

The international study published in medical publication, the Lancet, found that only Swedish men had enjoyed such a dramatic improvement in their fortunes.

The survey reported that in the UK, between 1975 and 1979, there were on average 276 deaths a year from testicular cancer.

Between 1995 and 1997, the figure was 96 deaths a year - a fall of 72%.

However, death rates in the UK were still higher than those in the USA and Japan, where the latest treatments became available earlier.

For more information, call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 or go to www.bbc.co.uk/bllcks.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Wales's Claire Summers
"It forces home the message that testicular cancer can kill"
Rock star Stuart Cable
talks about BLLCKS
BBC Wales's Jason Mohammed
"According to GPs, testicular cancer is among a number of what they call embarrassing illnesses"

BBC News Online at the launch of the BLLCKS testicular cancer campaign
Talking balls

 VOTE RESULTS
Men, have you ever checked for testicular abnormalities?

Yes
 79.77% 

No
 20.23% 

257 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

See also:

15 Mar 02 | Wales
Battling back from bllck cancer
07 Jun 01 | Health
Testicular cancer deaths plunge
03 Jun 01 | Millwall
Millwall striker has cancer
17 Mar 00 | C-D
Testicular Cancer
01 Feb 00 | Health
Testicular cancer breakthrough
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