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Testicular Cancer Series: Where’s the Light?

by Nick O’Hara Smith, Writer, Director, Advocate, Survivor


We men are primed to expect. We expect to be healthy, fertile, strong and pretty much invulnerable. We can do crazy things, dally with danger and head for the extreme with that same expectation that all will be well.

That was me in 1988 when suddenly I found a tiny lump on my right testicle.  Four weeks later, I lost both of my precious testicles, (thankfully a very rare occurrence).

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Testicular Cancer Series: The Fight After the Fight and All of its Firsts

by Steve Pake, Advocate, Survivor

Cancer Survivorship – The Fight After the Fight and All of its Firsts


After our fights with cancer are over, we all want so badly to believe that everything is behind us and that life is going to get back to normal. Those first weeks and months after our cancer fights are such a precious time. It’s our first taste of freedom after having been wrongfully held hostage by cancer for so long. I had my life back, but as time and the months went on I realized that it wasn’t my old life that I had back, but rather an entirely new one.  Cancer survivorship brings with it an entirely new set of life circumstances and a whole lot of firsts, many of which I was completely unprepared to handle or to deal with at all. 


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Testicular Cancer Series: The Perfect Storm

by Mike Craycraft, Advocate, Survivor


When heading to my urologist for my 5-year check-up for testicular cancer I wasn’t concerned at all from a cancer standpoint. Just two weeks earlier, I had returned from a spring break trip with my girlfriend and her daughter so I was completely relaxed. In fact, being a huge self-advocate, I had already requested my medical records from my CT scans, chest X-ray and tumor marker blood tests that I had a few days earlier so I knew all was fine. All that was left was the physical exam. However, in the preceding few months, I was feeling physically worse than any time since my diagnosis. Unbeknownst to me, I was suffering from a perfect storm.

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Testicular Cancer Series: An Interview with Scott Slater

by Pat Taylor, CKN Editor, and Scott Slater, Advocate and Survivor





1. Please give a brief account of how you discovered your cancer. Your age, treatment and follow up care.


When I was 35 I was in the shower in my apartment in Brooklyn when I noticed for the first time that one testicle seems substantially larger than the other. This struck me as strange because I hadn’t noticed anything even remotely out of the ordinary on any other prior day. There was also no discomfort at the time, which certainly didn’t help as far as discovering the issue.


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Testicular Cancer Series: A caregiver’s perspective

by Jenna Jackson, Caregiver

Sadly, there is no manual or guidebook for when your husband receives a testicular cancer diagnosis.  Did you even know what testicular cancer was? Did you know that it preys on men ages 15-34 years old?  Your world is suddenly flipped upside down and there is not a darn thing you can do about it.  You feel completely and utterly helpless.  Maybe you cry yourself to sleep, maybe you are in shock, or maybe you keep everything to yourself. You never imagined yourself in this role – you were just married and enjoying life as a newlywed, but now he has cancer and everything is different.   The days to come are filled with uncertainties.  But, you are absolutely certain of one thing: you will do everything in your power to provide unrelenting love, support, and grace to ensure that your partner, a newly deemed cancer patient, is comfortable and taken care of.

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Breast Cancer Is Serious. Pink Is Not.

by Theresa Brown

This article originally appeared in the NY Times.

PITTSBURGH — October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and I have breast cancer. The country is fully pinked out in support of breast cancer screening and research, and though I know all the pink is meant to make me feel good, to tell me that the entire country has my back, I actually find it profoundly alienating. Pink is not a serious color, though cancer is a very serious disease. Pink is about femininity; cancer is about staying alive.

I am lucky, if one can say that, within the context of possible cancer diagnoses. My breast cancer is small, has the tumor markers most favorable for treatment (estrogen- and progesterone-positive, HER2-negative) and is very slow-growing. A friend of mine, a doctor, trying to allay his anxiety and mine, joked that based on these results, I didn’t really even have breast cancer.

But breast cancer, even when one has a good prognosis, always raises the possibility of mastectomy, a surgery that removes the patient’s disease but is also said to disfigure her in a way that can compromise her femininity. The question that looms, reinforced by the ubiquitous pink, is whether a woman who has lost her breasts to mastectomy will still be a whole woman.

I have to say, speaking as a breast cancer patient, that the question never crossed my mind. I am not worried about losing my femininity to breast cancer surgery; I’m worried about losing my future to the disease. The real worry with breast cancer is metastasis: spread. And even though my present prognosis is good, there are reasons prophylactic double mastectomy would not be an unreasonable choice for me. However, after genetic testing and an M.R.I., I chose lumpectomy, with radiation, instead of mastectomy. Avoiding major surgery made the most sense in my specific situation; that mastectomy would threaten my womanliness did not factor in.

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Related Content

Pink Ribbons, Inc by Samantha King

Do We Need to Clean up the Pink Washing of October?  by Terri Coutee

“Breast Cancer Connections: My personal relationship with the month of October”  by Lorna Larson

“Hey, Pink Ribbons: You Missed This One!” by Deborah Cornwall



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