Wednesday 24 April 2019

Hurling star Joe tells of his epic battle with cancer

All-Ireland winning hurler Joe Deane will speak to a symposium on having testicular cancer.

The Cork star will speak out to help remove the stigma many men place on going to see a doctor.

As Cork were in heavy preparations for their mammoth three-in-a-row bid in 2006, their diminutive corner forward was being haunted by lingering doubts on his health.


Deane (31) had become increasingly aware that one of his testicles felt unusually hard.

But his thoughts were elsewhere as he readied himself for battle on the hurling field, having no idea he would soon be battling for his health.

"I said to myself, 'Look, in the next four to five weeks are very important, we are going for three in a row and let's get that sorted first. If there is something amiss after the championship's through, we'll get it sorted'."

The former All Star only realised that waiting to get checked out by a doctor could have had serious ramifications when he was diagnosed shortly after the final.

He was rushed to surgery not long after this, and was lucky to make a full recovery.

He is quick to point out how his relaxed attitude had put his life in peril.

"Bulletproof was the term I would always have used about myself," he said. "Young men often believe they are invincible in terms of their health.

"They may read about health issues or see advertisements, but they say to themselves, 'I'm different, nothing like that will ever happen to me'."

Cancer specialist Dr Seamus O'Neill asked Joe to speak about his experiences, in the hope he could influence men who regard going to the doctor as an admission of weakness.

"Making people aware of my experience might help address that a bit," he said. "After all, I was very fit, my cholesterol was low, I never smoked and I drank in moderation -- and even then only in the off-season. I never felt I'd get sick, but I did".


Dr O'Neill reiterated the need to get men more self-aware when it came to their health.

"Women are much more likely to have an established personal relationship with their GP than men," he said.

"Without being sexist, it's due to a range of issues from family planning advice through to smear tests, and even attending with their children. There's always work to be done in terms of getting men in the door."


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