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Sudbury pool tournament using cheeky title to raise awareness about testicular cancer

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Movember, a charity known for its work raising awareness about prostate cancer during the month of November, is using April to highlight yet another health issue for men.

The organization is holding events across the country with a focus on testicular cancer, including a pool tournament in Sudbury Friday night cheekily called ‘Ball-in-Hand.’

In pool, it’s a term used when the cue ball is allowed to be placed anywhere on the table, but the play-on-words connects the event with testicular cancer awareness.

Shane DeMerchant, a community manager for Movember, said humour is a great way to start the conversation.

“Our men’s health message resonates with guys when you can speak to them in their language,” DeMerchant said.

“So when you can bring some humour, bring some levity to a really serious subject, it kind of opens the door a little bit more easily -- gets guys talking a little bit more.”

The nine-ball tournament is the brainchild of a Sudbury man who was recently diagnosed with testicular cancer. He told CTV off-camera that he’s not ready to share his story publicly.

The organization is holding events across the country with a focus on testicular cancer, including a pool tournament in Sudbury Friday night cheekily called ‘Ball-in-Hand.’ (Photo from video)

But his friend, Rhythm N’ Cues owner Alain Lessard, was keen to host the event as he’s been impacted by cancer. Lessard said he beat two types of cancer last year, and now is dealing with another form in his stomach called fibroblasts.

“Anyway, it’s a good cause and the person came and asked me if he could run or do a fundraiser and I said ‘guaranteed,’ Lessard said.

Statistics cited on Movember’s website indicate young men are the most at risk of developing testicular cancer.

With treatment, the survival rate is better than 95 percent, but DeMerchant said early detection is key.

“One thing that we say is: when it comes to your doctor, when it comes to going to a walk-in clinic if you don’t have a family doctor, this is something they do all the time. It’s something that is totally normal for them,” he said.

“It’s tough to have that conversation, but a really important one to have if you do notice a change.”

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Although the Ball-in-Hand event will raise awareness about a health issue that only affects men, women are welcome to participate.

In fact, DeMerchant said most conversations men have about their health happen with their partner or a female family member.

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