After recently watching ITV's The Real Full Monty, I was inspired to write the following post.
Don't worry guys, I'm not planning on stripping or anything like that...
It's not very often I get emotionally attached to the message behind a TV show. Not only did these episodes raise awareness of cancer, they also tackled some really important issues such as body image.
Today I'm going to be talking about my own personal experiences and the importance of getting yourself checked.
In a performance led by Diversity's Ashley Banjo, a group of celebrities (both male and female) took to the stage in their teams.
The key message behind this show is really simple. Know the symptoms and get yourself checked.
Women's breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK, with one person being diagnosed every 10 minutes. 1 in 8 men will also get prostrate cancer in their lifetime. However, if caught early enough, there is nearly a 100% survival rate in both testicular and prostrate cancer.
The reason I'm talking about this today is because a couple of years ago, I found a lump.
Being a typical guy, I ignored it for as long as possible. However as time went on, I became increasingly concerned and I eventually plucked up the courage to go and see my doctor.
I was then referred for an ultrasound at the hospital. Prior to this I had already self-diagnosed via the internet, and started to plan my entire funeral. Classic Ross...
In all honestly the experience wasn't half as bad as I had thought and I was extremely lucky that my results came back clear.
Body image is another key issue discussed on The Real Full Monty. I've always had a strange relationship with food and I've never been happy with my weight.
3 years ago I lost around 2 and a half stone - going from a size XL to a Medium. Even though it felt great at the time, I knew I was going about it the wrong way.
I remember going to an Indian restaurant with some friends one night and all I ate was a poppadom. Looking back now I can see how dangerous and unhealthy I was becoming. I was obsessed.
Since then, I have put on a fair amount of weight and I'm back to a size that I'm uncomfortable with. In my head I’m this tall, muscular guy with chiseled abs… but in reality, I’m more Oompa Loompa - minus the dodgy tan.
I'm documenting this today as I need to give myself that kick start. I also want something positive to look back on. I’m not planning a mass “diet”, I just need to make a few lifestyle changes.
The point I'm trying to make is that nobody's perfect, we all have our own little issues. I hope by sharing my story today I've inspired at least one other person to get themselves checked or at least start talking about it.
For more information, visit the ITV website, or see a list of helplines available below: