Andrew’s Story

I was diagnosed with testicular cancer on the 11th October 2012 when I was age 19. My twentieth birthday fell on one of the days I was having chemotherapy.

Late discovery

By the time I noticed something was wrong, my right testicle was rock solid. It was also the size of a small satsuma according to the surgeon! It was very big compared to my left one.

Embarrassed to get help

I put off going to the doctor for around 2 to 3 weeks. I thought it may just be something that would go away in a few weeks, which obviously didn’t happen. And I felt very embarrassed about going and talking to my doctor, and it was hard for me to tell my parents about it.

Because I was scared to tell mum and dad about my problem, they only found out I was ill when the consultant rang them up after I went to see him on my own. I was alone when he told me I had cancer.

It really wasn’t nice going on my own, and that’s why it’s very important to me to say to other men, don’t be scared to talk about it. I don’t want anyone else to go through what I did.

Bolt from the blue

When I first went to see my GP, he thought my testicle was just swollen and said I should be sent for an ultrasound just to check it out. The ultrasound results came back to be clear – they said no cancer. However, three weeks later the specialist I got sent to told me that yes, it was a cancerous tumour.

I was shocked, as I’d been told I was coming in for a routine blood test. But when I was told I had cancer my heart stopped and my life flashed in front of me. But I knew that I could beat it, and I did. It took four cycles of BEP chemotherapy over four months and two operations.

Don’t go through what I did – Check your balls!

When I first noticed the change in my testicle, I had no idea it could be cancer. I’d never really been aware of testicular cancer before being told I had it. So now I’m determined to spread the word.

I think my story could have been a whole lot different if I’d been aware of how to check my balls. If I’d checked my balls more, I might not have ended up having all those cycles of chemo. Early detection of lumps is key, because in the early stages it might only take a small operation to remove the testicle and to stop the cancer from spreading.

Remember: a five-minute check once a month could make the difference between the cancer spreading and it not spreading. I can’t stress enough how important it is not to be embarrassed if you find something strange. Tell your GP as soon as possible, and get support from the people you trust.

Take Andrew’s advice, and pledge now to check your balls monthly!