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Michael Appleton urging men to check themselves for testicular cancer
The Lincoln boss underwent surgery for testicular cancer last July.
Lincoln boss Michael Appleton began the campaign recovering from testicular cancer treatment and ends it urging men to check themselves regularly as the curtain comes down on Testicular Cancer Awareness Month.
Last May, the Imps went agonisingly close to promotion to the Championship, with Blackpool coming from behind under the Wembley arch to deny them victory in the League One play-off final.
Lincoln have found this campaign tougher and sit 18th in the standings ahead of hosting relegated Crewe in Saturday’s season finale, with manager Appleton understandably ready for a break after such an all-consuming period.
On the pitch, the Imps boss has not only missed star loanees from last season but had to deal with a swathe of absentees, with as many as 14 senior players potentially unavailable this weekend.
But away from the pitch things have been more testing for Appleton, who underwent surgery for testicular cancer last July having found a lump a few months earlier.
“It wasn’t until the season had finished that it became sort of more aggressive,” the ex-Manchester United, Preston and West Brom midfielder told the PA news agency.
“What I mean by more aggressive is that during the play-offs and certainly second half of last season especially I knew that there was an issue there and something wasn’t quite right.
“But it wasn’t until the season had finished or coming towards the end of the season where things started to change and I started to notice and feel a lump.
“That’s when I knew I had to sort of go and get something done about it.”
Appleton had previously been under a year’s surveillance after complaining of pain in his testicles and returned to his GP after noticing a lump that was confirmed as cancer.
The 46-year-old took a short break to recuperate from surgery during pre-season and is eternally grateful to his family for their endless support, with Sir Alex Ferguson among the many well wishers within football.
“I felt lucky that I was able to pick it up quickly, which obviously clearly has helped in terms of dealing with the issue and trying to get over it much quicker,” Appleton said.
“Still today, obviously I’m on constant surveillance every couple of months and having to visit Christie’s and go through the scans and having my bloods done on a regular basis.
“But I’ve not found myself one of the unluckier ones, who took longer to recognise that there was an issue and not get it seen to, not addressing it.
“Then obviously on the back of that what happens is it’s more difficult to deal with or more difficult to treat going forward.”
Appleton used the original announcement of his diagnosis to raise awareness about the disease and is continuing to do so in partnership with Movember.
“Clearly there’s a little bit of a stigma about it and almost I would say some degree of embarrassment, I suppose, with some guys,” he said ahead of the Lincoln’s season ending on the same day as Testicular Cancer Awareness Month.
“Especially sports people. We can be very macho people and sometimes you’ve got to sort of break down those barriers.
“The reality is to try, especially this month more than others, to raise awareness that guys should – and especially young guys – be checking themselves regularly.
“If they feel anything sort of different or pain, have the courage to go and speak to their GP.
“There’s obviously various websites, like Movember’s Nuts and Bolts, where you can easily go to get as much advice as you possibly can. Any questions that need answering, that would certainly help.
“I think from my point of view it’s about talking. Whether it’s to your partner, your friends, your colleagues, whatever it may be.
“Sometimes that might be the first port of call before you feel confident enough to go to your GP.”
:: Michael Appleton has partnered with Movember to raise awareness of testicular cancer. For more information visit: movember.com/knowthynuts