STEVEN Woodcock and Kean Turner tell similar stories.
They begin with the shock of being diagnosed with testicular cancer and not quite believing it could really happen to them.
Both speak frankly and openly about their experiences, their treatment and the effect it had on them.
And both of their stories have a happy ending - and that in itself has given rise to another similarity.
They now both want to use their experiences to help and inspire other men who may be in the same position - ideally they both want to help prevent others from going what they have been through.
The result is not one book but two. Steven, under the pen name of Steve Cage has produced a fast-paced action thriller, with all royalties going to the Everyman male cancer campaign, and Kean has written an inspirational, laugh out book of hope.
Steven, 49, who has worked in film, television and advertising for almost 30 years, will be known to Calderdale audiences through his film, The Jealous God which used a number of Calderdale locations and which received its premiere at the Rex Cinema, Elland in 2005.
“I was writing the book, When The Killing Starts and had nearly finished it when my life was turned upside down,” reveals Steven.
“I found out I had testicular cancer. It was scary but I got through it and survived. I just felt I had to do something and so I decided to team up with Everyman. I want to get the message across about how important it is for men to check themselves and go and see their GP straight away if they suspect something. If that saves just one life as a result, then I’ll have done my job.”
Kean, who lives in Illingworth, Halifax, completely agrees. The 45-year-old’s hilarious book is entitled I’ve Only Got One But It’s a Beauty with the sub-title, Cancer is Not A Laughing Matter but Laughing Matters.
“I’ve already had people ring me and say ‘your book encouraged me to go and get checked out’ and I thought well that’s fantastic because that’s the whole point of it,” he says.
Steven was diagnosed in 2008 but admits at first he ignored the warning signs.
“I was sitting at a computer writing for long periods and began to get a dull ache in my groin. I thought it was just cramp. Then one night in the bath I examined myself and found a lump but I was too scared to go to the GP and anyway I only had a couple of weeks to finishing the book so I ignored it.
“I can’t believe I put it off now. I mean I’m an educated, articulate man!”
But Kean agrees he too was in a kind of denial before being diagnosed back in 1999.
“I was fit, playing lots of football and thought, well it must be a groin strain. I never thought for a minute it would be cancer.”
Since then he has spoken openly about his surgery and his chemotherapy which he describes as “a hurricane waiting to happen. You feel fine but you know it’s just a matter of time before you’re going to be ill.
“It can be un-nerving,” he says.
By writing their respective novels, they now both hope that male cancer will not be a taboo subject.
“Men are notoriously rubbish about talking about their illnesses and when it is something that concerns something they consider private, like their testicles, well let’s face it, they don’t want to bleat on about it,” laughs Steven.
“My mechanism of dealing with it was humour,” adds Kean. “It was a way of covering up the cracks because I was scared at times. Who wouldn’t be.”
Humour is now the theme throughout his book, from the moments before surgery when “lefty went off to the Y fronts in the sky”, through to having to produce repeated sperm samples afterwards.
In contrast Steven wanted to produce a book for tough guys that would be seen as cool. The result is a page-turner filled with sexy girls, guns and big bangs.
The response to both has been phenomenal.
“I had someone ring me to say ‘I cried, I laughed and I cried laughing’, which I thought was great,” says Kean.
Meanwhile When The Killing Starts is flying off the shelves in Waterstones and WH Smith’s and Steven is already at work on a sequel.
Both books are available locally at Fred Wade, Halifax.