Fighting Testicular Cancer: Daniel J.'s Story (cont.)
After a physical examination at the local medical center, Daniel waited nervously to hear the results. He sat quietly in a hospital bed where just a thin sheet separated him from the rest of the room.
Then the phone rang.
Daniel could hear the doctor saying and spelling out his name on the phone. It was then that he heard him say, "Oh, so it's cancer."
"I was right behind the curtain," Daniel said. "I immediately became very upset and started crying."
Without insurance, Daniel was told he would incur a hefty bill if he stayed there to be treated, which brought him to the county hospital the next morning. Another blood test and ultrasound was conducted to confirm the diagnosis of testicular cancer, and an appointment was made with a urologist the following week. Daniel was then informed that he would have to go into surgery.
"By the time I was told I'd have surgery, I was more at ease," Daniel said. "The doctor's bedside manner had succeeded at keeping me calm, and he did a good job at informing me what this meant, what could happen, and what would happen. I was still nervous, but less than before. He kept my emotions in check."
Daniel ended up having surgery to remove the cancerous testicle two weeks after his initial diagnosis. Shortly afterward, he was taken in for an MRI to make sure the cancer hadn't spread to the remaining testicle.
"I was out of the hospital the next morning," Daniel said. "For me, there were no serious side effects, and I heard that if a man has to have cancer, testicular cancer is the kind you want because it is very curable and has a very high survival rate. But it was still a terrifying experience. I was scared out of my mind."
One of Daniel's greatest fears throughout the ordeal were the sexual side effects he would experience after having one of his testicles removed, but he was relieved when he was informed everything would remain the same.
"The doctor said that it was just like anything else you have two of. One is there to back the other one up."
Daniel was lucky overall in his experience because of all the symptoms of testicular cancer, he was told pain is not the strongest. Today Daniel does whatever he can to inform people around him of the importance of self-tests.
"I had no idea," Daniel said. "I was not performing self-exams. Had it not been for the pain, who knows how long it would've taken me to discover it."
Men between the ages of 15-40 should conduct a monthly testicular self-examination in order to detect testicular cancer symptoms early. It is best to perform the self-examination after a bath or shower, when the muscles are at a higher temperature and more relaxed. Performing the exam is a quick process of feeling over the surface of the testicle for any lumps that could be signs of testicular cancer.