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An NHS worker has credited Marvel’s Deadpool for a lifesaving early testicular cancer diagnosis.
Rishiel Gudka, an NHS physio assistant, said the antihero played by the actor Ryan Reynolds “essentially saved my life” thanks to a short video clip featuring the character.
The 31-year-old from Harrow decided to check himself after watching the video in 2016.
The video showed Reynolds’ character, who has cancer in the film, encouraging men to “tweak your tomatoes” and regularly check for lumps.
Mr Gudka told the PA news agency: “I barely had any symptoms, so there was nothing alerting me that there was anything wrong.
“If I hadn’t watched that Deadpool video then I would not have checked and I would not have caught the cancer so early.”
In the film, Reynolds’ character Wade Winston Wilson, known as Deadpool, is diagnosed with cancer in his liver, lungs, prostate and brain.
In a short clip posted online in 2016, Reynolds-as-Deadpool says testicular cancer is the most common cancer for men aged between 15 and 35 and urges men to “fight back”.
Using the aid of a diagram, he demonstrates how to check for unusual lumps and adds: “Man up and talk to your doctor.”
Mr Gudka said the clip inspired him to check himself for the first time, leading him to discover an unusual lump.
After contacting his GP and being referred to a specialist, he was diagnosed with the earliest stage of testicular cancer.
“It was hard for me to digest at the time because I was only 26 and I felt healthy,” he said
“We were never taught about how to check your testicles at school and it was never spoken about.
“When I was first diagnosed I knew nothing about testicular cancer and I just had to trust that my doctors knew what to do.”
Five years on, after receiving chemotherapy and having one of his testicles removed, he is now in remission and cancer free.
The NHS worker said the experience has opened his eyes to the importance of being honest about health – something he thinks men struggle with.
“Men dismiss things because there is a societal expectation to be tough all the time,” he added.
“Men are expected to just get on with things and don’t want to admit when something is wrong or look weak.”
This week marks the end of Movember, a charity campaign where men across the country grow facial hair to raise awareness and funds for mental health and suicide prevention, prostate and testicular cancer.