Roughly five years ago, I found a lump on my left testicle while conducting a routine self-exam in the shower. This was early October 2016. I was only 25. I didn't have any symptoms aside from the lump, which resembled a frozen pea.
After experiencing a lot of anxiety about next steps, I called a doctor a few days later. It's no exaggeration to say the call saved my life. My primary care doctor, urologist and oncologist all stressed how important not putting it off was to my successful course of treatment.
By late October, an ultrasound result caused my doctor to suspect cancer. He confirmed it a few days later. Doctors removed my left testicle at the end of the month, but a CT scan in early November revealed cancer had spread to my lymph nodes. I was officially diagnosed with stage IIB nonseminoma testicular cancer.
This mouthful of a diagnosis meant I needed BEP chemo—a combination of bleomycin, etoposide and platinum. I started 21 treatments in late November and concluded at the end of January 2017. A scan in March 2017 showed I was in remission, and I've been cancer-free ever since.
Despite early consternation about what it would be like to be one pilot short of a full cockpit, I've learned, after living this uniballer life for more than five years, that my dismay was misplaced. Testicular Cancer Awareness Month—it is this and every April—is the perfect time for this survivor to provide some comfort.
Men shouldn't worry about four of the most common fears they may encounter immediately following their diagnosis and orchiectomy. The fact I was diagnosed at age 25 is by no means unusual when it comes to testicular cancer. It's a young man's disease, so take note.