A mum-of-two has told parents to check their kids after her young son was diagnosed with testicular cancer.
Nicola Barksby, 35, said the diagnosis came as a huge shock to the family, adding "it's hard to expect it in adults let alone a six-year-old boy."
She was bathing her son Jake on May 28, when she noticed one of his testicles was larger than the other.
Mrs Barksby and her husband Adam took Jake to see his local GP – who urged them to get him to hospital as quickly as possible.
The youngster was sent to the Queen's Medical Centre on June 4 and just over a week later he had surgery to have his testicle and a 5cm tumour removed.
Mrs Barksby said he was formally diagnosed with paratesticular rhabdomyosarcoma, a very rare soft tissue tumour, on June 21 when the biopsy results came back.
"It all happened so quickly," Mrs Barksby, a clerical officer who lives in Hucknall, told Nottinghamshire Live.
"Within the space of the first month a lot has happened. It was such a huge shock as I almost thought he had not got a right testicle as the other one was quite big.
"With Jake there was no pain or illness it was just the size. You do not expect it at all. It's hard to expect it in adults let alone a six-year-old boy."
Jake began a series of tests including a CT scan which then revealed another lump in his stomach.
Now fearing the worst in that the cancer had spread, he had to undergo another operation and biopsy to confirm whether the lump was cancer.
The lump fortunately turned out to be non-cancerous.
However, to make sure the rare form of cancer does not spread, he had to have pipes inserted into a vein in his chest – known as central lines.
He will now undergo 22 weeks of chemotherapy at the Queen's Medical Centre.
"On the cancer ward it's very scary," Mrs Barksby said. "When you walk into the ward it is full of children all battling cancer.
"It's really sad to see. Cancer changes your life. We're just taking things a day at a time.
"We were meant to be going to Florida on holiday but now we will have to leave it until next year.
"And because of his central lines he is not allowed to go swimming or trampolining.
"He has chemotherapy every week for four weeks and then he gets a week break. He's just getting on with it. He has been very accepting and lets the doctors do what they have to do.
"It's very uncommon in children his age but luckily we found it early enough.
"For myself it's about raising awareness in younger children, and it's also so important for younger lads who take themselves off for a shower to check themselves.
"The hospital has been really, really good. They have kept us in the loop. The nurses have been really great."
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