It’s finally here!!!!

Good morning and welcome to race day!!! Today is an historic day in the life of Balls to Cancer and our #teamnuts !! We would like to ask each and everyone of you to make a special effort to support us today. If you live locally please come down and bring the family! We have a bouncy castle, face painting, candy floss and ice cream!!!

For the grown ups we have Tea, coffee sandwiches oh and of course the bar!!! So please come down and help us celebrate the first Balls to Cancer fun run (and bring your unwanted coins)

And don’t forget you can meet Wolverhampton Wanderers very own Jody Craddock who is running too!!

For those of you too far away to come today, you can play your part too. By making a donation through the website, by raising awareness in your community of what and who we are. Tweet about us, comment on Facebook about us. Get us as many followers as you can.

You never know you may even get a famous face or two to retweet you.

Good luck to our runners and walkers. Thank you for your commitment to the cause, and I hope to see you back in June with your friends and family.

Thank you #teamnuts for getting us this far, there is still a lot of work to be done. I have every confidence that YOU will be able to do it.

Mark Bates

The Wolverhampton Wolverines Back Balls to Cancer

The Wolverhampton Wolverines Australian Rules FC are backing Balls to Cancer. They will be holding a fund raising day in the new year to help us raise much needed funds.

Also they are going to add the Balls to Cancer logo to their kit to help us raise awareness.

Thank you lads!!

They have been going since 2009 when Ian Mitchell started the team up.  They have a mixture of older lads and sixth formers from the school he teaches at (Brownhills School).  Last year they had 30-odd members.  Around a dozen of them are taking part in this years Balls to Cancer fun run.  They play in the Central and North West division of AFL Britain.  They play their home games at Willenhall RUFC, Essington.  Next year they will be sponsored by Rileys Pool Sports Bar, Wolverhampton.  They aim to hold a Balls to Cancer home game next year where all proceeds will go to the charity.

Aussie Rules over here is not the 18 a-side version you get in Oz unless you play in London.  Here we have a 9 a-side version, played on rugby pitches.  Everything else is the same including the severity of the tackling ans everything else!

So why not go along and support the boys who are supporting Balls to Cancer!!

Skin Cancer

What is skin cancer?

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer among white populations, in the UK and worldwide.

Most are easy to treat and pose only a small threat to life, but one type, melanoma, is difficult to treat unless detected early. Over the past 25 years, rates of melanoma in the UK have risen faster than any other common cancer.

Skin cancer symptoms

There are three principal types of skin cancer, which can have different symptoms and appearances.

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) affects a type of cell within the top layer of skin. It’s a slow-growing cancer and doesn’t usually spread to other parts of the body.

BCC affects all sun-exposed areas of the body. The main symptom is a small, painless, pink/brownish-grey lump, with a smooth surface, blood vessels and a waxy or pearl-like border. The lump grows, developing a central depression with rolled edges.

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) involves another type of cell in the top layer of skin. It usually affects the face and the main symptom is an area of thickened, scaly skin that develops into a painless, hard lump, reddish brown in colour with an irregular edge. The lump becomes a recurring ulcer and doesn’t heal.

These two types are known as non-melanoma skin cancer. They are usually slow growing, occur on sun-exposed areas of the skin and rarely spread.

Melanoma skin cancer can occur anywhere on the body and is more dangerous. It’s related to the common mole and changes in the appearance of moles on your body should be checked by your GP.

Malignant melanoma tends to spread much more rapidly through the bloodstream than the other two types of skin cancer. It affects the cells that produce the skin’s colouring, and if not treated successfully can spread to the liver, lungs or brain.

The main symptom is a quick-growing, irregular, dark-coloured spot on previously normal skin or in an existing mole that changes size, colour, develops irregular edges, bleeds, itches, crusts or reddens. If an adult has a growing, changing, brown or black mark which cannot be covered by the blunt end of a pencil, this should be shown to the doctor straight away.

Occasionally, melanoma may present with swollen lymph glands or rarely in unusual places including the sole of the foot, mouth or eye. If melanoma is diagnosed, then further tests will be done to see if the cancer has spread beyond the skin to other parts of the body. This may involve taking x-rays and scans to look at the liver, brain and lungs.

To find out if it’s skin cancer and if so which type, a doctor will carry out a biopsy, removing all or part of the suspicious growth for analysis.

Skin cancer causes

Although scientists have found that those with lighter skin are far more vulnerable to skin cancers, the main cause of skin cancer is over-exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays. A suntan isn’t healthy – it’s a sign of skin damage. It’s thought the UV radiation in sunlight causes subtle cell damage which can lead to cancerous changes.

Non-melanoma skins cancer results from prolonged sunlight exposure over many years. The main cause of melanoma skin cancer is exposure to short periods of intense sunlight; the kind of exposure people get on a two-week holiday.

Rates of skin cancer of all sorts are extremely low among dark-skinned people. Men are more likely to develop cancers on their neck, shoulders and back, whereas in women they’re more likely to appear on the legs and arms.

Diagnosing skin cancer

Diagnosis of skin cancer can usually be made by your GP or hospital specialist by simple skin examination. Sometimes, the skin cancer will need to be removed by a small operation or biopsy; both for treatment and lab testing. Other routine tests, including X-rays and scans aren’t usually required.

Skin cancer treatments

Non-melanoma skin cancers are usually treated by a common operation to cut out the affected area under local anaesthetic. Another method used on smaller cancers is cryosurgery, in which liquid nitrogen is applied to the tumour to freeze it and kill the cells, which simply shrivel and drop off.

Some cases of basal cell carcinoma may be suitable for photodynamic therapy, which uses a cream to sensitise the tumour and then exposes it to high intensities of light to destroy it.

In the case of melanoma, if there is a suspicion that the cancer may have spread beyond the skin layer, chemotherapy or biological treatment such as interferon may be given to attempt to eradicate skin cancer cells in other parts of the body.

About 1,800 people die from melanoma skin cancer annually in the UK. Even so, nearly 80 per cent of men and over 90 per cent of women are alive at five years following treatment, browse this site for more info.

Preventing skin cancer

The best way to prevent skin cancer is to avoid too much time in the sun. You don’t have to be sunbathing to get burned. You can get too much sun while walking to the shops, driving a car with the windows down, even under light cloud cover. Time of day and location are important too. The intensity of UV radiation increases during the middle of the day, between April to September, nearer the equator and at higher altitudes.

How to protect yourself and your children:

  • Stick to the shade between 11am and 3pm
  • Cover up with clothes, a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses
  • Apply a high-factor sunscreen (minimum SPF15 and three stars) regularly
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid overheating
  • Avoid using sun lamps or sunbeds
Watch those moles

Many moles aren’t cancerous, but it’s vital to keep an eye on any you have. Watch out for moles that change shape or colour, become bigger, itchy or inflamed, or that weep or bleed. If you notice any changes or are worried, get them checked by a doctor.


Testicular Cancer

Cancer of the testicles, also known as testicular cancer, is an uncommon type of cancer that primarily affects younger men.

The most common symptom of testicular cancer is a painless lump or swelling in the testicles. Other symptoms can include:

  • a dull ache in the scrotum (the sac of skin that hangs underneath the penis and contains the testicles)
  • a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum

The testicles

The testicles are the two oval-shaped male sex organs that sit inside the scrotum on either side of the penis. The testicles are an important part of the male reproductive system because they produce sperm and the hormone testosterone, which plays a major role in male sexual development.

Types of testicular cancer

The different types of testicular cancer are classified by what type of cells the cancer first begins in.

The most common type of testicular cancer is known as ‘germ cell testicular cancer’, which accounts for around 95% of all cases. Germ cells are a type of cell that the body uses to help create sperm.

There are two main subtypes of germ cell testicular cancer. They are:

  • seminomas, which account for 40% of all cases of testicular cancer
  • non-seminomas, which account for the remaining 60% of cases of testicular cancer

In practical terms, the only important difference between the two subtypes is that seminomas tend to respond better to radiotherapy (treatment that uses radiation to kill cancer cells) and non-seminomas tend to respond better to chemotherapy (treatment that uses medication to kill cancer cells).

Less common types of testicular cancer include:

  • Leydig cell tumours, which account for around 1-3% of cases
  • Sertoli cell tumours, which account for around 1% of cases

This article focuses on germ cell testicular cancer. The Macmillan website has more information about Leydig cell tumour and Sertoli cell tumour.

If you want to know about what’s causing you food intolerance or allergy?
By knowing how to cure or at least manage your condition, you can get on with your life. Isn’t it time you said “enough!” to bloating, indigestion or frequent toilet trips? By knowing exactly what might be causing you acid reflux, IBS or other symptoms. You can then avoid the triggers and lead a more normal and carefree lifestyle. Without an food intolerance test this can be a tough task of trial and error. Painful blood tests cannot accurately reveal a particular food intolerance.

How common is testicular cancer?

Testicular cancer is relatively uncommon, accounting for just 1% of all cancers that occur in men. Each year in England, it is estimated that there are three to six new cases of testicular cancer for every 100,000 men.

Testicular cancer is unusual compared to other types of cancers because it tends to affect younger men who are 20 to 55 years of age. As a result, although relatively uncommon overall, testicular cancer is the most common type of cancer to affect young men (20 to 35 years of age).

Rates of testicular cancer are five times higher in white men than in black men. The reasons for this are unclear.

The number of cases of testicular cancer that are diagnosed each year has roughly doubled over the last two decades, both in England and in other European and North American nations. On the other hand, testicular cancer is virtually unheard of in some African and Asian nations. Again, the reasons for this are unclear.

The cause or causes of testicular cancer are unknown, but a number of risk factors have been identified that increase the chance of developing the condition. These include:

  • having a family history of testicular cancer
  • being infertile
  • being born with undescended testicles(cryptorchidism). About 3-5% of boys are born with their testicles located inside their abdomen, which usually descend into the scrotum during the first four months of life


The outlook for testicular cancer is very good because it is one of the most treatable types of cancer. Over 95% of men with early stage testicular cancer will be completely cured.

Even cases of advanced testicular cancer, where the cancer has spread outside the testicles to nearby tissue, have an 80% chance of being cured.

Compared to other cancers, deaths from testicular cancer are rare. For example, in 2008, 60 deaths were caused by testicular cancer in England and Wales.

Treatment for testicular cancer includes the surgical removal of the affected testicle (which should not affect fertility or the ability to have sex), chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

See our how to check video here 

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer generally affects men over 50, and is rarely found in younger men. It is the commonest type of cancer in men. Around 34,000 men in the UK are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year.

It differs from most other cancers in the body, in that small areas of cancer within The Prostate are very common and may stay dormant (inactive) for many years.

Approximately one half of all men in their fifties have some cancer cells within their prostate and 8 out of 10 men (80%) over the age of 80 have a small area of prostate cancer. Most of these cancers grow extremely slowly and so, particularly in elderly men, will never cause any problems but if a doctor do not prescribes any mediation he or she can be subject of a court trial as per Faulkner Lawyers.

In a small proportion of men, the prostate cancer can grow more quickly and in some cases may spread to other parts of the body, particularly The Bones

Early (localised) prostate cancer

Early cancer of the prostate gland (early prostate cancer) is when the cancer is only in the prostate and has not spread into the surrounding tissues or to other parts of the body. It is also called localised prostate cancer.

Locally advanced prostate cancer

Locally advanced prostate cancer is cancer that has spread into the tissues around the prostate gland. Cancer that has spread to other parts of the body is called metastatic prostate cancer.

Advanced (metastatic) prostate cancer

Advanced or metastatic cancer of the prostate gland is when the cancer has spread beyond the prostate gland to other parts of the body.

Prostate cancer is usually diagnosed in the early stages before it has begun to spread outside the prostate gland. In about 1 in 10 men (10%), the prostate cancer will be advanced when it is first diagnosed.

Advanced prostate cancer can also occur in men who have been treated for early or locally-advanced prostate cancer and whose cancer has come back (relapsed or
recurred). You can find out more about the stages of prostate cancer

Prostate cancer cells can sometimes spread beyond the prostate gland (the primary tumour) and travel around the body in the blood stream, or less commonly the Lyphatic system . When these cells reach a new area of the body they may go on dividing and form a new tumour called a metastasis or secondary tumour.

The most common place that prostate cancer spreads to is bones such as the spine, pelvis, thigh bone (femur) and ribs.

Usually the cancer cells will spread to a number of different places in the bones rather than a single site. Sometimes prostate cancer can affect the bone marrow. This is the soft tissue in the centre of most bones and is where the blood cells are made. Prostate cancer can also spread to the lymph nodes and very occcasionally may affect the lungs, the brain and the liver.

We have separate information about the different treatment options for each of the three types of prostate cancer.

Brain Cancer

There are more than 100 different types of brain tumour, depending on which cells within the brain are involved. The most common (about 50 per cent of brain cancers) is called a glioma, and it is formed not from the nerve cells of the brain but from the glial cells, which support those nerves. The most aggressive form of glioma is known as a glioblastoma multiforme – these tumours form branches like a tree reaching out through the brain and may be impossible to completely remove.

Other tumours include:

  • Meningiomas – account for about a quarter of brain cancers and are formed from cells in the membranes, or meninges, that cover the brain
  • Pituitary adenomas – tumours of the hormone-producing pituitary gland
  • Acoustic neuromas – typically slow-growing tumours of the hearing nerve often found in older people, according to Bill Austin.
  • Craniopharyngioma and ependymomas – often found in younger people

The treatment and outlook for these different brain tumours varies hugely. Some, such as meningiomas and pituitary tumours, are usually (but not always) benign, which means they don’t spread through the brain or elsewhere in the body. However, they can still cause problems as they expand within the skull, compressing vital parts of the brain. Other types of brain cancer are malignant, spreading through the tissues and returning after treatment. Brain exercises are now considered perfectly normal. It seems that everywhere you go these days you will come across people doing crosswords, Sudoku and various types of activities to keep the brain in shape but not so long ago the idea that the brain needed exercising would have met with derision or scepticism. For more information about Private coaching for memory care patients, then contact us today.


Brain tumours are also graded in terms of how aggressive, abnormal or fast-growing the cells are. Exactly where the tumour forms is also critical, as some areas of the brain are much easier to operate on than others, where important structures are packed closely together.

Brain cancer causes

The reason why tumours develop in the brain remains a mystery, but some risk factors are known. These include:

  • Age – different tumours tend to occur at different ages. About 300 children are diagnosed with brain tumours every year, and these are often a type called primitive neuroectodermal tumours (PNETs), which form from very basic cells left behind by the developing embryo. PNETs usually develop at the back of the brain in the cerebellum
  • Genetics – as many as five per cent of brain tumours occur as part of an inherited condition, such as neurofibromatosis
  • Exposure to ionising radiation – such as radiotherapy treatment at a young age
  • Altered immunity – a weakened immunity has been linked to a type of tumour called a lymphoma, while autoimmune disease and allergy seem to slightly reduce the risk of brain tumours
  • Environmental pollutants – many people worry that chemicals in the environment (such as from rubber, petrol and many manufacturing industries) can increase the risk of brain cancers, but research has so far failed to prove a link with any degree of certainty. Neither is there clear and irrefutable evidence for risk from mobile phones, electricity power lines or viral infections, although research is ongoing
Brain cancer symptoms

The symptoms and signs of a brain tumour fall into two categories.

Those caused by damage or disruption of particular nerves or areas of the brain. Symptoms will depend on the location of the tumour and may include:

  • Weakness or tremor of certain parts of the body
  • Difficulty writing, drawing or walking
  • Changes in vision or other senses
  • Changes in mood, behaviour or mental abilities

Those caused by increased pressure within the skull – these are general to many types of tumour and may include:

  • Headache (typically occurring on waking or getting up)
  • Irritability
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Drowsiness
  • Coma
Diagnosing brain cancer

If your GP suspects a brain tumour, you should be referred to a specialist within two weeks. Tests are likely to include blood tests, a scan of the head (MRI or CT) and possibly other brain scans, x-rays or ultrasound scans.

In order to test a sample of the cancer cells, it’s often necessary to carry out a biopsy of the brain. A small amount of tissue is removed to study in the laboratory (this may be done at the start of an operation to remove the tumour). Alternatively, a lumbar puncture may be carried out.

Brain cancer treatments

The type of treatment offered and the likely response depends on the type, grade and location of the tumour. Unlike many other organs, it’s very difficult to remove parts of the brain without causing massive disruption to the control of body functions, so a cancer near a vital part of the brain may be particularly difficult to remove.

The main treatments for brain tumours include:

  • Surgery – to remove all or part of the tumour, or to reduce pressure within the skull
  • Radiotherapy – some brain cancers are sensitive to radiotherapy. Newer treatments (stereotactic radiotherapy and radiosurgery) carefully target maximum doses to small areas of the tumour, avoiding healthy brain tissue
  • Chemotherapy – these treatments are limited by the fact that many drugs cannot pass from the bloodstream into brain tissue because of the ‘blood-brain barrier’, but may be useful when tumours are difficult to operate on, or have advanced or returned
  • ‘Biological’ therapies – for example, drugs that block the chemicals that stimulate growth of tumour cells
  • Steroids – can help to reduce swelling of the brain and decrease pressure in the skull

Often a combination of treatments will be recommended.

While, as a general rule, brain tumours are difficult to treat and tend to have a limited response, it can be very misleading to give overall survival figures because some brain cancers are easily removed with little long term damage, while others are rapidly progressive and respond poorly to any treatment.

While only about 14 per cent of people diagnosed with a brain tumour are still alive more than five years later, this sombre statistic could be unnecessarily worrying for a person with a small benign brain tumour. What a person diagnosed with brain cancer needs to know will be the outlook for their individual situation, which only their own doctor can tell them.

Treatments do continue to improve – for example, survival rates for young children have doubled over the past few decades, and many new developments are being tested.

Penile Cancer

Cancer of the penis (penile cancer)

This information is about cancer of the penis. Cancer of the penis is rare. Approximately 400 men are diagnosed with it in the UK each year. It is most often diagnosed in men over the age of 50.

Causes and risk factor 

The exact cause of cancer of the penis is unknown. It is much less common in men who have had all or part of their foreskin removed (been circumcised) soon after birth. This is because men who have not been circumcised may find it more difficult to pull back the foreskin enough to clean thoroughly underneath.

Some skin conditions that affect the penis can go on to develop into cancer if they are left untreated. If you notice white patches, red scaly patches, or red moist patches of skin on your penis, it’s important to see your doctor so that you can get any treatment that you need. body contouring by plastic surgeon is a minimally invasive, empowering way for people from all walks of life to regain control over their appearance. If you’ve been thinking about treating yourself to a procedure, now is the time to do it! Today’s technology provides individuals with more options than ever before for regaining the confidence they deserve when it comes to the appearance of their bodies…without having to worry about disrupting day-to-day life with a painful recovery.

Cancer of the penis isn’t infectious and cannot be passed on to other people. It is not caused by an inherited faulty gene and so other members of your family don’t have an increased risk of developing it.

Signs and symptoms

The first signs of a penile cancer are often a change in colour of the skin and skin thickening. Later symptoms include a growth or sore on the penis, especially on the glans (head of the penis) or foreskin, but also sometimes on the shaft of the penis. There may be a discharge or bleeding. Most penile cancers are painless.

Sometimes the cancers appear as flat growths that are bluish-brown in colour, or as a red rash, or small crusty bumps. Often the cancers are only visible when the foreskin is pulled back.

These symptoms may occur with conditions other than cancer. Like most cancers, cancer of the penis is easiest to treat if it is diagnosed early, so if you have any worries it is best to go to your doctor straight away.

How it is diagnosed

Your GP will examine you and refer you to a hospital specialist for expert advice and treatment.

The specialist will examine the whole of the penis and your groin to feel for any swellings. To make a firm diagnosis, the doctor will take a sample of tissue (a biopsy) from any sore or abnormal areas on the penis. This will be done under an anaesthetic (local or general) so that the procedure is painless. The biopsies will be examined under a microscope.

Further tests

If the biopsy shows that you have cancer, your doctor will refer you to a specialist centre, which may be some distance from your home.

The doctors at the centre will usually do some further tests to check whether or not the cancer has spread.

Cancer can spread in the body, either in the bloodstream or through the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is part of the body’s defence against infection and disease. The system is made up of a network of lymph nodes (also known as lymph glands) that are linked by fine ducts containing lymph fluid.

If the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes in your groin they may be enlarged.

The results of these tests will help the specialist.

A CT scan takes a series of x-rays which builds up a three-dimensional picture of the inside of the body. The scan is painless but takes from 10-30 minutes. CT scans use a small amount of radiation, which will be very unlikely to harm you and will not harm anyone you come into contact with. You will be asked not to eat or drink for at least four hours before the scan.

You may be given a drink or injection of a dye which allows particular areas to be seen more clearly. For a few minutes, this may make you feel hot all over. If you are allergic to iodine or have asthma you could have a more serious reaction to the injection, so it is important to let your doctor know beforehand.

If you have any enlarged lymph nodes in the groin, your doctor may put a needle into the node to get a sample of cells (biopsy). This is to see whether or not the enlargement is due to cancer. Enlarged lymph nodes can also be due to infection, and not cancer.

The stage of a cancer is a term used to describe its size and whether or not it has spread beyond its original site in the body. Knowing the particular type and stage of the cancer helps the doctors to decide on the most appropriate treatment for you.

The most commonly used staging system is called the TNM system, where:
T refers to the tumour size.
N refers to whether or not lymph nodes are affected
M refers to whether or not the cancer has spread to other parts of the body (metastases).

The T, N and M will often have numbers attached to describe the detail. For example, a T1 tumour may be very small and just in one layer of tissue, whereas a T4 tumour may be a larger size and spread through several layers of tissue.

The exact details of the T, N and M will depend on the type of cancer.

Number staging system

In addition to TNM staging, you’ll probably hear the doctors use a number staging system. There are usually three or four number stages for each cancer type.

Stage 1 describes a cancer at an early stage when it’s usually small in size and hasn’t spread, whereas stage 4 describes cancer at a more advanced stage when it has usually spread to other parts of the body. Stages 2 and 3 are in-between these stages.

The number stages are made up of different combinations of the TNM stages. So a stage 1 cancer may be described as either T1, N0, M0 or T2, N0, M0.

Number stages may also be further subdivided to give more detailed information about tumour size and spread. For example, a stage 3 cancer may be subdivided into stage 3a, stage 3b and stage 3c. A stage 3b cancer may differ from a stage 3a cancer in either the tumour size or if the cancer has spread to lymph nodes.

Talking about staging

In the last few years, staging systems have become increasingly complex and they now describe the size and spread of different types of cancer in much greater detail. This can be very helpful in planning the details of treatment or predicting outcomes.

However, doctors will often use a much simpler approach when talking about staging. They might use words like ‘early’ or ‘local’ if the cancer hasn’t spread, ‘locally advanced’ if it has begun to spread into surrounding tissues or nearby lymph nodes, or ‘advanced’ or ‘widespread’ if it has spread to other parts of the body. Your doctors can give you more information about the stage of your particular cancer.


Grading refers to the appearance of the cancer cells under the microscope and gives an idea of how quickly the cancer may develop.

Low-grade means that the cancer cells look very like normal cells; they are usually slow-growing and are less likely to spread. In high-grade tumours, the cells look very abnormal, are likely to grow more quickly, and are more likely to spread.


Your treatment will be carried out in the specialist centre that you have been referred to. This will either be a hospital with a surgeon who specialises in treating cancer of the penis or a cancer treatment centre.

The type of treatment that you are given will depend on a number of things, including the position and size of the cancer, its grade, whether or not it has spread and your general health.

The treatments used for penile cancer include surgery, which is the main treatment,chemotherapy and Radiotherapy. With advances in surgical techniques it’s usually possible to preserve the penis or to reconstruct it surgically.

Before you agree to any treatment, your specialist will talk to you about the possible side effects and how to deal with them.


Small, surface cancers that have not spread are treated by removing only the affected area and a small area around it. The cancer can be removed with conventional

surgery,using a laser or by freezing (cryotherapy). Cryotherapy is carried out with a cold probe, which freezes and kills the cancer cells.

If the cancer is affecting only the foreskin, it may be possible to treat it with circumcision alone.

All the above treatments can usually be given to you as a day-case. They may be done under local or general anaesthetic, depending on individual circumstances.

Wide local excision If the cancer has spread over a wider area, you will need to have an operation known as a wide local excision. This means removing the cancer with a border of healthy tissue around it. This border of healthy tissue is important as it reduces the risk of the cancer coming back in the future. The operation is usually carried out under a general anaesthetic and will involve a short stay in hospital.

Removal of lymph nodes  The surgeon may also remove a small number of lymph nodes from your groin to find out if the cancer has spread. If the nodes in your groin are obviously enlarged you will usually have all the nodes in your groin removed (radical groin dissection).

Surgery to preserve the penis and reconstruction For larger cancers of the head of the penis, the bulbous part (the glans) will be removed. In this situation it is possible to give back a normal appearance by using skin from somewhere else in the body (skin graft).

You will need to stay in hospital for about five days and have the wound dressed regularly for up to a fortnight.

Removing the penis (penectomy) This may be advised if the cancer is large and is covering a large area of the penis. Amputation may be partial (where part of the penis is removed) or total (removal of the whole penis). The operation most suitable for you depends on the position of the tumour. If the tumour is near the base of the penis, total amputation may be the only option. This operation is now much less common, as doctors can usually preserve the penis.

Reconstructive surgery It may be possible to have a penis reconstructed after amputation (if there are no signs that the cancer has spread anywhere else in the body). This requires another operation. The techniques that may be used include taking skin and muscle from your arm and using this to make a new penis.

Sometimes it is also possible for surgeons to reconnect some of the nerves in order to provide sensation and the necessary blood flow to allow the reconstructed penis to become erect. If you have damaged nerves you can try to repair them before needing surgery, read the full article.


treats cancer using high-energy rays to destroy cancer cells, while doing as little harm as possible to healthy cells.

Radiotherapy is occasionally used instead of surgery. This may be when someone is not well enough to have an operation or doesn’t want to have surgery.

It used to be a common treatment for small cancers of the head of the penis (glans), but nowadays it is used less often because of improvements in surgery.

However, radiotherapy may be used to treat affected lymph nodes in the groin to help reduce the risk of the cancer spreading.

It may also be given to treat symptoms, such as pain, if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, like the bones.

Radiotherapy is normally given as a series of short daily treatments in the hospital’s radiotherapy department. High energy x-rays are directed at the area of the cancer by using a machine. The treatments are usually given from Monday to Friday, with a rest at the weekend. Each treatment takes 10-15 minutes. The number of treatments will depend on the type and size of the cancer, but the whole course of treatment for early cancer will usually last up to six weeks. Your doctor will discuss the treatment and possible side effects with you.

Before each session of radiotherapy, the radiographer will position you carefully on the couch and make sure that you are comfortable. During your treatment you will be left alone in the room, but you will be able to talk to the radiographer who will be watching you carefully from the next room.

Radiotherapy is not painful, but you do have to lie still for a few minutes while your treatment is being given. The treatment won’t make you radioactive and it is perfectly safe for you to be around other people, including children, after your treatment.

Side effects of radiotherapy

There are sometimes side effects from radiotherapy treatment to the penis. The skin on your penis may become sore during your treatment and for a period of time afterwards. Staff at the radiotherapy department will be able to give advice on how to look after your skin in the area being treated.

Long-term, the side effects of radiotherapy can cause thickening and stiffening of healthy tissues (fibrosis). In some men, this can result in a narrowing of the tube that carries urine through the penis (the urethra) and so can cause difficulty in passing urine. If narrowing of the urethra does develop, it can usually be helped by an operation to stretch (dilate) the area. This is done by passing a tube into the urethra and is performed under a general anaesthetic.


is the use of anti-cancer (cytotoxic) drugs to destroy cancer cells. It can be one drug or several drugs used together. It is not commonly used to treat cancer of the penis. Chemotherapy cream may sometimes be used to treat very small, early cancers that are confined to the foreskin and end of the penis (glans).

Chemotherapy may also be given as tablets, or by injection, into a vein for more advanced cancer. It may be given along with surgery or radiotherapy (or both).

Clinical trial

Research into new ways of treating cancer of the penis is going on all the time. Cancer doctors use trials to assess new treatments. Before any trial is allowed to take place, an ethics committee must have approved it, and agreed that it is in the interest of the patients.

You may be asked to take part in a clinical trial. Your doctor must discuss the treatment with you so that you have full understanding of the trial and what it involves. You may then decide not to take part, or withdraw from the trial, at any stage. You will then receive the best standard treatment available.


After your treatment is completed, you will have regular check-ups and possibly scans or x-rays. These will probably continue for several years. If you have any problems, or notice any new symptoms between these times, let your doctor know as soon as possible.

Your feelings

You may have many different feelings  including anger, resentment, guilt, anxiety and fear. These are all normal reactions, and are part of the process many people go through in trying to come to terms with their illness.

Everyone has their own way of coping with difficult situations; some people find it helpful to talk to friends or family, while others prefer to seek help from people outside their situation. Some people prefer to keep their feelings to themselves. There is no right or wrong way to cope, but help is there if you need it. You may wish to contact our a Cancer support worker  for information about counselling in your area.

It can help to talk to your partner about how you are feeling, and about the changes in your relationship. This can be very difficult and you may need to get help from a specialist nurse or counsellor. They can help you, and your partner, to deal with these changes. Your GP, hospital doctor, or one of our cancer information nurse specialists can usually put you in touch with a counsellor or specialist nurse.

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Bowel Cancer

What is bowel cancer?

Bowel cancer (also known as rectal, colorectal or colon cancer) affects the lower part of the digestive system – the large bowel and the rectum.

The condition is rare in people under 40 and almost 85 per cent of cases are diagnosed in over 65-year-olds. It affects men and women equally, and is the third most common type of cancer in men and the second most common in women. One in 20 people in the UK develops bowel cancer.

Bowel cancer isn’t easy to treat, mainly because it’s often detected once well-established – and possibly after it has spread beyond the bowel. However, estimates suggest that nine out of 10 cases can be successfully treated if detected early. Survival has doubled over the past 30 years because of early diagnosis.

Doctors urge the public to be more aware of the warning signs of bowel problems and to report them promptly.

Bowel cancer symptoms

The problem with bowel cancer symptoms is that they could easily be caused by less life-threatening complaints, such as haemorrhoids  or Irritable bowel syndrome .

However, doctors advise that if the following symptoms persist for longer than a couple of weeks, medical attention should be sought:

  • Blood flecks in your stools, particularly if the blood is dark or plum-coloured – this is the most commonly noticed symptom and should never be ignored
  • A change in your regular bowel habits, such as constipation or diarrhoea, that’s severe or lasts for two weeks or more
  • A feeling that you need to empty your bowels even when you’ve just been to the toilet
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort that lasts for two weeks or more
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Some people feel tired, dizzy or breathless because they’ve become anaemic from microscopic bleeding from the bowel

Bowel cancer causes

The exact cause of bowel cancer isn’t known, but there is believed to be a genetic link to a small number of cases, as those with a family history are more likely to develop it themselves.

If you have a first-degree relative (a member of your immediate family) diagnosed before the age of 45 or two immediate family members affected by the condition, you should talk to your GP about genetic screening to see if you’re at risk. Keep a record of your family health history.

Diet is also a key factor identified by scientists. Low-fibre, high-fat diets are thought to have increased the rates of bowel cancer.

Your risk of bowel cancer increases with age, as the average age of diagnosis is about 70. However, younger people can also be diagnosed with the disease. Previous problems with chronic inflammatory bowel disease, such as long standing ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, also appear to increase the risk.

Diagnosing bowel cancer

To diagnose bowel cancer, your GP may do a rectal examination to check for any abnormal changes. This involves putting a gloved finger in the rectum to feel for any lumps or swellings – this is usually only slightly uncomfortable.

The NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme was introduced in 2006. It offers routine screening every two years to all men and women aged 60 to 69

To investigate bowel cancer symptoms, doctors and hospital specialists often ask patients to undergo sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. Both involve gently pushing a long thin tube containing a tiny video camera through your back passage and into the rectum and colon to take a close look at the inside of the bowel. If polyps or abnormal areas of the lining of the bowel are seen, biopsies may be taken and sent to the laboratory for analysis. This can be uncomfortable, but is very seldom a painful experience.

A barium enema may also be done. This involves injecting a dye into the lower bowel via an enema, which shows up on x-rays to help doctors spot signs of cancers.

If the diagnosis is cancer, the tumour will then be staged. Doctors may order more complex tests such as CT or MRI scans to see if the cancer has spread to other organs, such as the liver. This helps doctors to work out what treatment is most appropriate and to provide an estimate of the chances of a cure.

Bowel cancer treatments

The main treatment option for bowel cancer is surgery  – if the disease can be caught before it breaks through the bowel wall, chances of success are much higher.

Usually, the piece of bowel that contains the cancer is removed and the two open ends are joined back together. This operation is called a bowel resection.

If the two sections can’t be joined back together, often because the tumour is too low, the bowel can be brought out through the abdominal wall. This is called a stoma, which is connected to a colostomy bag. Although this procedure is more likely after removal of a tumour in the rectum, it isn’t always necessary and may only be temporary. In these cases, further treatment may not be necessary.

Chemotherapy  and radiotherapy  are increasingly being used to treat bowel cancer in addition to surgery, especially in more advanced tumours. For example, a combination of radiotherapy and chemotherapy may be given before surgery for rectal cancer. This is known as neo-adjuvant therapy and may reduce the risk of recurrence and improve survival rates.

How well patients do after treatment depends on the stage the cancer has reached. Survival rates have improved in the past 30 years, but overall survival is still only about 50 per cent at five years. However, when bowel cancer is caught early – before it has spread to other organs such as the liver or the lungs – the chances of recovery are more than 80 per cent.

Preventing bowel cancer

People are encouraged to eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, as this appears to reduce the risk. A high-fibre diet with plenty of fruit, vegetables and carbohydrates (pasta, bread, rice) is believed to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. Moderate amounts of exercise may also protect against bowel cancer.

Eating a diet high in saturated fat and red meat, and low in fibre, smoking and being overweight, increases your risk as does drinking excessive amounts of alcohol.

Eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day is thought to protect against this and many different cancers through the benefits of the antioxidant vitamins and minerals they contain.