LIFE model and testicular cancer survivor Anthony Weston has stripped off for an Oxford charity’s upfront new poster campaign.
Mr Weston, 61, from Didcot, was diagnosed with testicular cancer in August 2007. He went on to have successful surgery and chemotherapy at Oxford’s Churchill Hospital.
Mr Weston is a supporter of the charity UCARE (Urology, Cancer, Research and Education), based at the hospital, which raises awareness of urological cancers.
And he will be painting a clear message of the need to check for symptoms of cancer when his body appears on UCARE posters in gyms, health clubs, golf and tennis clubs across the county this summer.
He said: “The poster is pretty upfront in its message, but it needs to be. Men are notoriously lax at checking their bodies and this can mean the difference between life and death.
“If me appearing in this poster encourages people to come forward and get themselves checked, I’ll be happy.”
There are 2,000 new cases of testicular cancer every year in the UK and while it is one of the easiest cancers to cure, it can also be one of the most deadly because if not detected and treated quickly, it often spreads to the lungs or brain.
Mr Weston said: “I am living proof of the need to act on anything strange or different as soon as possible. I noticed a hardening in one of my testicles and went straight to my GP. Within days I was being scanned. A week later the tumour had been removed and soon after I was told it had not spread.
“I later found out about UCARE and the great work it does through my oncologist Andrew Protheroe, who helped start the charity.
“I asked if I could help in any way and a friend of mine, the award-winning Oxford artist Francis O’Neill, agreed to paint me so the image could be used by UCARE.”
Mr Weston is a life model for colleges and private art classes.
He said: “People will often draw in the scar on my groin just because it is there. Some ask if it is a hernia and are surprised when I tell them it was cancer. But every opportunity is a way of getting the message across.”
Val Berry, development officer for UCARE said: “Twenty per cent of all new cancers diagnosed will be urological (prostate, bladder, kidney and testes) and yet their awareness remains woefully low despite the fact that one in every five people in Oxfordshire will know of a someone who has been affected by one.
“Thankfully, Anthony isn’t embarrassed about what he’s been through and he is a great advocate for raising awareness.”
Latest available figures, for 1991 to 2001, show about eight county men in 100,000, about 28 a year, were diagnosed with testicular cancer. The survival rate was about 95 per cent.
- Anyone wishing to get a poster and support UCARE should visit http://ucare-oxford.org.uk or call 01865 767777