November is men’s month and this year the Electrical Industries Charity is highlighting testicular cancer and how important it is to be in the know about testicular cancer.
Testicular cancer is mostly diagnosed in young men and men who have undescended testes at birth or have a family history of testicular cancer are most at risk. Cancer is daunting and being diagnosed with testicular cancer can be incredibly scary. James, a power station worker of 4 years, was diagnosed with testicular cancer at just 27.
James contacted the Charity via the helpline after being diagnosed with stage 1 testicular cancer three weeks earlier. James had always been incredibly active and was in shock he had developed cancer at such a young age. James had managed to catch his cancer early and was advised his cancer had not spread – a positive sign but the first treatment option was to remove his right testicle. Understandably, James was distraught at the prospect of surgery and was struggling to cope with the impact surgery may have. James believed post operation he would be less of a man and unable to have children. James and his fiancée had always wanted a family and he feared he would be left infertile and their relationship irrevocably damaged. James had not spoken to his doctor, his partner or family about his concerns and instead had let them bottle up inside of him – he was riddled with anxiety and stress and was increasingly tearful.
The Electrical Industries Charity encouraged James to speak to his doctor to understand the likelihood of infertility and impotence. James had done his own research but found himself overwhelmed whenever he read about testicular cancer. The Charity Welfare team understood James’ fear but told him knowledge is power. Although there may be a chance of infertility or impotence the doctor is the best person to advise and help him understand further treatment options. James was also anxious to speak to his fiancée, he feared rejection should he be infertile and felt his place as the protector and solid support structure would be destroyed. The Charity team also funded counselling sessions to give James a safe non-judgemental outlet while he was struggling to speak to his partner and his family. Through counselling James worked through his grief and anxiety and after two sessions he opened up to his fiancée. James’ fiancée reassured him they were a team, and they will remain a team to find the best support possible. James’ partner then attended the doctor’s appointment with him to establish the likelihood of infertility, impotence and return of cancer.
James’ doctor advised that by removing James’ right testicle his chances at making a full recovery are greatly improved and his sex life and fertility should not be affected. About 1 in 50 will get new testicular cancer in their remaining testicle but in such circumstances, there is the opportunity to only remove part of the testicle. With James’ fears eased and his fiancée’s support James underwent surgery and a single dose of chemotherapy to eradicate the cancer. Post operation James attended two more Charity funded counselling sessions and felt equipped to face life post cancer with the support of his fiancée. Since James’ doctor has confirmed the cancer was successfully eradicated and he is now having bi-yearly follow up appointments. James and his fiancée married in the Summer and are now thinking about adding to their family.
The Charity continue to check in on James and should he need further support the Charity would be more than happy to help.
It is so important to check your testicles and know how they should feel. If you spot anything unusual, please seek medical advice. The Electrical Industries Charity are here to help you through any stage of your diagnosis. Please contact the welfare team on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0800 652 1618.