Last year in February I was diagnosed with testicular cancer at the age of 20 and nearly died because I didn’t realise I had it. How I actually found out was from watching channel 4 embarrassing bodies and I was very lucky as I had the faster growing tumour of the two which I caught in its early stages.
After I found this lump I was worried about going to the doctors and getting it checked, as I was embarrassed about the doctor examining me. But I knew I had to go and get over my embarrassment as the doctors see things like this every day and its nothing to them, it’s just like them looking at your arm or your knee, and it’s just another part of the body.
So the next day when I went I just said “I would like you to check me I found a lump” and he then examined me and referred me to a specialist who I saw the following week who also examined me and sent for an ultrasound scan of my testicles, Then it was off for my blood to be taken to check the present of tumour makers. The same day I was told I had testicular cancer and my tumour markers were 258 and a normal person is between 0-1.
The course of action after the diagnoses was removal of my right testicle. This was upsetting for me to live as a young man with only one testicle but I knew I had two options and this one had the best outcome. After the operation I was told the cancer had spread to my back. And my cancer doctor told me that I had to go to a fertility clinic to store my sperm before starting treatment.
I was then given three course of chemotherapy to remove the bits in my back and to reduce the chance of it returning in future. I lost my hair on my first treatment but this didn’t bother me, as I would rather be bald then lose my life. During this time I was nearly in a coma three times this was because my white blood cells were completely zero as I had no immune system due to my treatment and nearly died.
That was when I was told that my cancer had been destroyed and I came to realise that I was not alone; many are affected by this disease from patients and their families to doctors, nurse. Knowing that gives you the strength and motivation to keep the fight going. I felt like I was one of the lucky ones and this made me feel an increased sense of responsibility to give something back and I don’t want to ever lose that!!
I believe a lack of knowledge combined with embarrassment can allow it to go unnoticed until it’s too late. That’s why I want to see a world where people take actions to beat cancer so no one dies needlessly of the disease. That’s why I’m committed to saving young men’s lives by raising awareness of testicular cancer.
Right now there are lots of young men and teenage boys who aren’t aware of the symptoms of testicular cancer as many as 2,000 young men are diagnosed every year and 71 die because they don’t recognise the signs.
So what I have done now is set up a project called “Talking Testicles” going into schools and raising awareness about the disease in my talks helps them to recognise the signs and symptoms and maybe even save their life.
I have been cancer free for a whole year and 7 months now… In some ways, this has been the most terrifying humbling experience of my live but in other ways; it has been the best thing ever to happen to me. I’m awake and aware it changed my life.