FORMER TIPPERARY DEFENDER James Barry has opened up about the recent surgery he underwent for testicular cancer.
The two-time All-Ireland winner first discovered a lump six weeks ago and after a visit to his GP confirmed his fears, he had an operation on 11 April at University Hospital Limerick.
“With these types of cancers, the earlier you catch it the better,” he told the Tipperary Supporters Club in an interview.
“How it was found was probably lucky enough. Whatever way I bumped into my wife in the kitchen, the testicle area was sore enough. And then later on that night it was still sore – sorer than probably normal. I’ve got a few belts before in that area but nothing kind of serious.
“So, whatever way I put my hand down to feel, I felt a small, little lump. Look, it was only maybe the size of a peanut – but enough cause for concern to get it looked further into.
“My head didn’t go to thinking I had a tumour or cancer. I thought I had maybe damaged that part of the body or caused a strain.
🗣️"Whatever way I put my hand down to feel, I felt this small little lump"@TipperaryGAA's two-time All-Ireland SHC medallist @jamesbarry90 has been speaking about his recent testicular cancer diagnosis
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“I had it looked at fairly quickly. Two days later I was into my local GP in Thurles. His first thought was ‘I’m pretty sure it’s a tumour, so we’ll try and get you to Limerick fairly quickly.’
“To be told that news, I didn’t really know how to take it. Your head goes into overdrive.”
Barry, who retired at the end of the 2019 season, said the first he contacted after receiving the news as former team-mate Noel McGrath. The Premier star was diagnosed with testicular cancer at the age of 24 and underwent surgery in 2015.
“Obviously, I knew Noel had it, and I’ve known a few other people with stories over the years. I never really knew much about it.
“The first person I rang was Noel. I didn’t know what type of questions to ask. Noel was a huge help. He was massive for me.
“It was a wait of about a week,” said the Upperchurch Drombane clubman. “It was a long time for me to be in my own head.<
“Limerick hospital were magnificent. The doctors and consultants were fantastic. I went in on a Wednesday morning and came out the following Tuesday, between doing different scans and ultrasounds,” he said.
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“The operation was to take the whole thing out. You’re safe that way. The doctor came in and said we’re happy the cancer hasn’t spread, you’re clear to go home.
“I got emotional at that stage. I’ve had loads of injuries over the years and operations. I hadn’t really put that C word on it. On all the chats I’ve had, I didn’t really want to. I hadn’t really gone that far in my head.”
The 30-year-old encouraged men to check their testicle regularly and see medical advice if they notice any lumps in the region.
“My lump was very small. For anyone listening to this, it is important no matter what size of a lump you find to get it checked out.”
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