When a young man like John Hartson is diagnosed so suddenly with such an advanced cancer we all feel a wild variety of emotions, me included. At 34, he is about the same age as I was when I was diagnosed with a different form of cancer. I'm still here and I feel lucky, I feel guilty and I feel glad that I was a bit of a hypochondriac which meant that I kept going back to the GPs when I thought something was wrong.
A friend of John Hartson's has apparently said that he thinks the former footballer was aware of the lump in his testicles for a while before he went to the doctor's. I don't know if he's right but this should be the lesson that we learn: seek treatment promptly if you find a lump. Testicular cancer is not any more common than it was before and it is not any more dangerous than it was before. (Testicular cancer can be cured in 99% of cases provided it is treated in time.) You don't need to examine your testicles every five minutes - I very much doubt John Hartson did - but you do need to be do is to be testicle-aware. If you have a lump, get it checked out.
AFC Wimbledon fans still get a little misty-eyed over a goal of John Hartson's at Selhurst Park that almost kept the Dons in the Premier League. Now the Welsh hardman, also a hero to fans of Arsenal, Celtic, West Brom, Luton and West Ham, has everyone wishing him well - even Eyal Berkovic. Get well soon, John.