We had a chance to sit down and have a small Q&A with one of Teen Cancer America’s (TCA) Young Ambassadors, Brian, to discuss Testicular Cancer Awareness Month and how his experience could help others.
According to the American Cancer Society:
Testicular cancer is not common: about 1 of every 250 males will develop testicular cancer at some point during their lifetime.
The average age at the time of diagnosis of testicular cancer is about 33. This is largely a disease of young and middle-aged men, but about 6% of cases occur in children and teens, and about 8% occur in men over the age of 55.
Because testicular cancer usually can be treated successfully, a man’s lifetime risk of dying from this cancer is very low: about 1 in 5,000. If you would like to know more about survival statistics, see Testicular cancer survival rates.
Do you find it easy to share your story?
Yes. I see the benefit in my experiences and how they could help other people be more open about Testicular Cancer.
Have you found that how you tell your story changes over time?
Absolutely. As more time has gone on, my story has become clearer. There are so many pieces to it and I was not always sure about what happened when, why certain things happened, etc.
What, if anything, is hard for you about telling your story?
Remembering exactly what happened at various parts. For example, I thought that my paralysis on my left side was caused by leftover tumor, when in reality it was caused by the necrosis from the radiation.
You dealt with testicular cancer in the beginning, but what caused the brain tumor?
My testicular cancer metastasized to my lung and my brain, but the second tumor wasn’t detectable at the onset. It was shortly after I went into remission from my first treatment for my lung and first brain tumor.
Has hearing stories from other patients, survivors, or caregivers helped you?
I was in a young adult support group when I came out of brain surgery. Being around others having a similar experience made me feel less alone in what I was going through. I know that was not everyone’s experience, but I benefited from it.
If there was one bit of advice you could give to a young man or adult who may fear they have testicular cancer, what would it be?
When it doubt, get it checked out. Testicular cancers can be pretty aggressive, so the quicker you act, the better your chances are.
During the Fort Worth AYA Cancer Conference, Brian performed his song “So Alone” and answered questions about his treatment as an adolescent with cancer.