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'Get checked' Ex-Tipperary hurler James Barry opens up about his battle with testicular cancer

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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Former Tipperary hurler James Barry

Former Tipperary hurler James Barry

Former Tipperary hurler James Barry

Retired Tipperary hurler James Barry has revealed that he recently underwent surgery for testicular cancer.

And the two-time All-Ireland winner, 30, has issued a direct plea to anyone encountering a similar experience to immediately go for a medical check-up.

“With these types of cancers, the earlier you catch it the better,” said Barry in an exclusive interview with the Tipperary Supporters Club.

“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.”

The Upperchurch Drombane clubman, an All-Ireland medallist in 2016 and ’19, revealed that he discovered the problem around six weeks ago.

“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,” he explained.

“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.

“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. Obviously, I knew Noel (McGrath) had it, and I’ve known a few other people with stories over the years. I never really knew much about it.”

This was a reference to his former Tipp teammate, at the age of 24, underwent surgery in 2015 after being diagnosed with testicular cancer.

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“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,” Barry stressed.

“It was a wait of about a week. It was a long time for me to be in my own head.”

Following an ultrasound, an operation was arranged and took place on April 11 at University Hospital Limerick.

“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.

“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 high point of Barry’s Tipperary career came in 2016 when he started the All-Ireland final demolition of Kilkenny at full-back and was subsequently awarded an All Star. Three years later he was on the bench for the All-Ireland win over the same opposition and retired that October.

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