Worcestershire batsman Tom Fell has undergone surgery for testicular cancer but is confident of resuming cricket next month and wants to use his experience to raise awareness of the disease.
Fell, 22, was diagnosed shortly after the season finished having initially approached the Worcestershire club doctor. He had surgery in early October and was told the tumour had not spread so, on the advice of his consultant, has opted not to undergo a course of chemotherapy.
Instead he will be regularly monitored, firstly on a monthly basis, for any signs that the cancer has returned although the outlook for him is positive.
If another check-up in early December remains clear Fell, who was Worcestershire's leading run-scorer in the County Championship last season, is due to fly out to Australia for a period of club cricket while continuing to be monitored by specialists in Perth.
Fell admitted he had initial reluctance to seek medical advice when he first noticed a problem towards the end of the season. He was told that the tumour had grown to a significant size when it was removed and he is urging anyone with any concerns not to delay getting a specialist assessment.
"I was quite lucky. I was fairly stupid in the fact I didn't get it checked straight away. When they did analyse the tumour, it was fairly big at the stage they operated," he said. "I think if I had left it any longer and had gone to Australia to play cricket this winter without being checked, who knows how bad it could have been.
"Because I felt no different, that is why I didn't bother to get it checked sooner than I did. The thing I want to get out there to people is, even if they don't really have any concerns, it is worth getting it checked.
"It is such an easy thing to do, it takes 10 minutes with the doctor. I think partly the reason people don't get it checked is because it is quite a sensitive area and people may feel embarrassed and don't want to go through it.
"But it is such an easy thing to get checked and can make all the difference. That is something I am very keen to promote."
Following the surgery he was told in early November that the cancer had not spread to elsewhere in his body and the specialist advice was not to put his body through chemotherapy.
"I saw the specialist again that day and they broke the good news that it hadn't spread. However it was close. The tumour was quite bad at the time but it was really the best news that I could have hoped for.
"I'll be getting monitored and having regular checks. I was recommended by the professor I saw that if you can avoid chemotherapy it is definitely something I should do especially as a sportsman as the side effects and consequences can be quite severe."
"It is something I want to avoid. I've been told there is a 65% chance it is all clear and a 35% chance it can come back and if it comes back, it will most likely be in the next three months. The odds are in my favour in that sense and it is definitely worth just waiting and kind of hoping it doesn't come back and doing the surveillance and just keeping things checked up."
While Fell said there was the initial shock at the diagnosis he was put at ease by his consultant and the high success rate of dealing with testicular cancer.
"I knew it wasn't going to be life-threatening unless it had spread but the signs initially were positive that it hadn't spread. Naturally it came as a bit of a shock. But I knew straight away that testicular cancer is something that is quite common in people my age and it is very curable. I think the cure rate is 97-98%.
"The process isn't necessarily a nice one to go through but you've just got to look at it as a minor blip in your life and try to get back to normality as soon as you can.
"I found other people were a lot more concerned than I was. When you do hear the word 'cancer' you immediately think the worst and understandably so. But I was a lot more confident about it and obviously knew a lot more than other people did."