MOTHER was told to go home and “make memories” with her newborn after a critical ball was discovered just hours after his birth.
Billie Jobling, 25, was not at all worried when the midwife did routine checks on her son, Isaac, considering that he seemed completely healthy.
But to her surprise, the midwife found a lump in Isaac’s right testicle.
It was initially thought to be a twisted testicle, which is a relatively common problem.
“After his newborn checks, Isaac was taken straight to Bristol Children’s Hospital,” recalls Billie, a nurse who lives with her partner, Levi Davies, 27, and their three children.
“He only had one day. They gave him an ultrasound, which was supposed to last 10 minutes, but it lasted one hour.
“Then a lot of people started going in and out, a counselor was called, and I started to panic.”
Doctors found a tumor in Isaac’s testicle, from which even they were appalled.
Billie said: “They still didn’t know what it was or if it was cancer – they had never seen anything like it before.
“The consultant said he needed to discuss this with other surgeons.
“He told us to take Isaac home and ‘make memories’ for a week, then bring him back for surgery to remove his testicle.”
Billie took Isaac home to meet siblings Reuben, four, and Esmee, six, not knowing how sick their newborn brother was, or what his future held.
That week passed vaguely when Billie clung to Isaac, not wanting to let anyone else hold or touch him.
Isaac had a successful three-hour operation to remove his testicle, and was sent home to recover.
Billie then received the results of tests on Isaac’s tumor, as well as various scans.
Isaac was diagnosed testicular cancer. He had a rare type of cancer known as juvenile granular cell germ.
Only Billie was told three cases were once found in newborn babies in the UK.
I didn’t even know a baby could be born with cancer
About 2,500 men develop testicular cancer each year in the UK, with 90 per cent of them aged between 15 and 45. Only one per cent are under the age of 10.
Billie said: “I didn’t even know a baby could be born with cancer.
“It was such a terrible shock. You never think anything like this will happen to you, your child. I kept asking, ‘Is he going to die?’
“Isaac was so small. He didn’t look sick and he did everything a baby should do.
“The consultant explained how unusual it was.
“He said the cancer must have developed while I was carrying Isaac in my womb and would not be caught by pregnancy scans. Some cells just got bigger than they should have.
“He reassured us that nothing we did wrong or could do to prevent it was just bad luck.
“And he promised me they would get rid of all the cancer during the surgery – it didn’t spread. Fortunately, Isaac did not need further treatment. “
Happy and prosperous
Now seven months old, Isaac must have scans and blood tests every three months to make sure the cancer has not returned. He will be monitored until he is five years old.
“I keep thinking, thank God the midwife noticed that lump,” Billie said.
“Fortunately, Isaac may not have the long-term effects of his cancer or surgery. Many boys and men have only one testicle and it does not affect their fertility at all. “
Since Isaac’s diagnosis, Billie has said she regularly checks her remaining testicle and her brother’s testicles for any lumps.
Levi, a recycler, also began to control himself, something he had never done before.
“It’s a taboo around testicular cancer and men aren’t very good at going to the doctor either,” Billie said.
“The reason I’m telling Isaac’s story is because I want to raise awareness about testicular cancer so other mothers can check on their little boys and make their husbands. self control.
“It only takes a few minutes and it’s so important. Testicular cancer is really treatable. “
She said Isaac is now a happy, healthy baby, adding: “He’s thriving, but I’m not sure I’ll ever get over what happened. It broke our world. “
Phil Morris MBE, founder of Testicular Cancer UK, said there are several types of testicular cancer, but it is very rare for a baby to be diagnosed with the disease.
“Recent research suggests that in the uterus, male genitals (and indeed ovaries in girls) may form later in pregnancy and this can cause testicles to be smaller, underdeveloped and not shaped as they should be,” Phil said.
“Why this is happening is still uncertain and more research is needed, but it could be a reason why testicular cancer is increasing every year in younger men.”
Phil says it’s important for parents to be aware of testicle cancer symptoms and risk factors, such as undescended testicles at birth or close relatives with the disease.
“We think it’s important for men or boys to check their testicles for noise or swelling once a month after a bath or shower,” says Phil.
“It simply came to our notice then testicularcanceruk.com which explains how to do it right. ”
He says there is still a taboo, not just about testicular cancer, but about testicles in general.
“Men just joke about them and the expression‘ grow a few balls ’is used as a statement for a man.
“We’d like to point out that some of the best, bravest, strongest men we know have lost theirs!”
Testicular cancer – what to look for
The most common symptoms are:
- Swelling of the testicle
Less common symptoms are:
- Feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
- Dull pain in the abdomen or groin
- Sudden collection of fluid in the scrotum
- Pain or discomfort in testicle or scrotum
- Enlargement or tenderness of the breasts
- Back pain
Can testicular cancer be treated?
Treatment for testicular cancer involves surgery to remove the testicle, followed by scans and tests to see if the cancer has spread.
If it is caught early and has not spread, then no further treatment is needed. The patient will only be monitored for up to 10 years.
If the cancer has spread, then it is treated with chemotherapy. This has a 95 percent cure.
Most men continue to have babies naturally after testicular cancer treatment, although a small number need IVF.
For more information or support, see: www.testicularcanceruk.com