A testicular cancer survivor answers real men’s questions

Anna Walker

Men are notoriously unlikely to ask questions or seek help when it comes to their testicular health, but one Reddit session has helped to change that. 

When an anonymous testicular cancer survivor offered his experience up for an Aak Me Anything session on website Reddit, the results were particularly enlightening. Hundreds of men began commenting with their worries, questions and concerns.

Here are 7 of the best questions and answers from Reddit’s testicular cancer Ask Me Anything. 

 

How obvious was the lump? I’ve heard it’s important to check regularly, but I don’t really know what I'm looking for.

It’s definitely important to check regularly. If I had waited two or three months longer to go to the doctor, the cancer could have spread to my lymph nodes, giving me lymphoma which would have been a whole new problem.

It started out as a little bump that I didn’t think much of because I didn’t think it was large enough to be anything important and probably a little bit because of denial.

Over the course of the next year it grew and eventually I started having slight aching in my lower stomach that would come on once a month and last for three or four days, after which I went to the doctor.

 

So you have a fake testicle? Is it similar to when women get a mastectomy and have reconstructive surgery? Can you tell that one is fake? 

Yes, it was put in surgically. It is a block of silicone and it was inserted right above my scrotum. If you were playing with my balls you could probably be able to tell if you knew I had had testicular cancer and suspected it, but otherwise I doubt it. It’s never caused my any problems.

 

What treatment did you receive? Did you use medical cannabis? If so, did it help?

No, people are only prescribed cannabis to help in dealing with chemotherapy or radiation, neither of which I had. I had all of the cancer surgically removed and then monitored.

 

I’ve known two people who have had this and survived too. They are both infertile now. One has decided to adopt, the other had a baby through a donor. Do you still plan on children?

I am still fertile and plan to have kids someday, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t consider adopting anyway.

 

How did your friends and family react to it? Did you start to accept it gradually or did it never stop being so scary?

I have four siblings who were all living away from home at the time so they weren’t present for most of the time I was being actively treated but they were all really supportive when they were there.

Luckily my parents were really supportive. My mom was pretty freaked out when I first found out but has been really strong since then. It was scary when it frist happened, but now that I am pretty much completely through it I’m mostly just thankful.

 

Have you had your testosterone checked to see if it went down? Did you feel like it had a hard impact on your life or was it not too big of a deal?

I haven’t, but I don’t believe that having a testicle removed should have any impact on that. I know my other testicle has grown to fill some of the role of the other since having the tumour removed. I definitely don’t feel different.

The whole ordeal definitely had a huge impact on my life. I think now that it is over the impact was for the better. I think I have a better impact on life and definitely helped let me know who of my friends really mattered and cared about me.

 

What was the hardest part for you?

The hardest part was probably the social implications of it. I’m not the most outwardly emotional person, so only a few close friends actually knew what I was going through.

 

Reader’s Digest has teamed up with AXA healthcare to help people stay healthy. We’re here to educate and offer hints and tips on how to prevent illness.