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Joe deane hurler and cancer survivor

Thursday, 8th September, 2011 8:00am

Joe Deane is a name synonymous with Cork. Born and raised in Killeagh, East Cork, Joe was a member of the Cork senior intercounty team from 1996 until 2009 and is regarded by many as one of Cork's all-time greats in hurling. Joe has faced many battles on the pitch, but his greatest didn't take place on the field of play. In 2006 Joe was diagnosed with testicular cancer after he noticed some unusual swelling in his testicle."In August 2006, I started to notice that my testicle had become harder. I was very busy with the GAA season at the time because we were going for the three-in-a-row that September. You pick up a lot of knocks and bruises in hurling so I didn't think much of it initially."After we lost the final in September I noticed that my testicle was continuing to get bigger and I knew something was wrong. I went to our team doctor, Con Murphy, whom I'd be very friendly with and he referred me to Dr Dermot Lanigan who sent me for a series of test in the Bon Secours Hospital."After the tesst were completed, Joe was diagnosed with testicular cancer and his treatment began immediately."I was told about it on a Monday and I had the operation to have the testicle removed on the Wednesday. Everyone in the hospital was absolutely brilliant. As it turned out I was very lucky. I didn't have to have chemotherapy or any other further treatment after the operation as they managed to remove the cancer with surgery."I was preparing myself for the worst and I went through a lot mentally so it was a great relief when I found out that I wouldn't need to go through chemotherapy."Joe, a patron of Blue September, an initiative aiming to get men to face up to their health issues, says the key reason he didn't require further treatment is because his cancer was caught in its early stages."It's so important to catch it early. The main thing is that men need to face up to health issues. They have no difficulty with things like sport or getting their car fixed but yet when it comes to health, men seem to have an issue with getting themselves checked out."All men need to be aware of the symptoms and they should be regularly checking themselves. Men are 30 per cent more likely to get cancer than women in Ireland but with testicular cancer there is a 90 per cent chance of survival and the earlier the diagnosis, the better the chance of a full recovery."The support Joe received after his diagnosis from family and friends as well as the general public was phenomenal he says."I got unbelievable support. Initially it was my family and friends and people I knew locally but then when it went national I was getting cards in the door every day. I got a card signed by the all of the Tipperary team as well as cards and texts from sportspeople up and down the country. It was overwhelming and really helped in my recovery. It was just great to know that everyone was behind me."Joe made a very speedy recovery after his surgery and says that life has completely returned to normal since."I was sore for about two weeks after the operation but generally the recovery process was fine and I was completely back to normal with a month and this was because it was caught so early on. I didn't think I'd be able to hurl for a good while but I played my first match in January at the start of the hurling season and I now lead a perfectly normal life. I still get a scan every six months but that's it."Blue September is an awareness-raising drive that encourages men to face up to cancer, and is being supported by the Mercy Hospital Foundation here in Cork.  Every Friday of September is Blue Friday where everyone in Cork and Ireland is being encouraged to get blue by either painting their faces or wearing an item of blue clothing. Joe believes it's very important to get involved in the Blue September campaign and to promote men's health awareness.  "Men need to face up to it. I was lucky in that i caught it early and I was surrounded by great support from everyone. I had a good relationship with my doctor who was very reassuring so I was very fortunate. Men need to face up to the fact that bad health is a possibility but that it is possible to go on and lead a normal life after diagnosis."

Name: Joe Deane

Occupation: Business Manager with ACC Bank.

Location: Killeagh, Co. Cork

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