9/12/2016

52

‘I’m a cancer survivor, a mother of cancer survivors, an EMT, and a firefighter. I’ve learned lots. My son was diagnosed in 2011 with testicular cancer. We had no idea. The education opportunities for this kind of cancer are just not out there. I’ve been in the medical profession for years and still had no idea what the age range is or what the details are. There are more men who die of testicular cancer than there are women who die of breast cancer in the demographic age range…but we’re not allowed to go out and speak in schools about it. My husband and I do health fairs to try to get the word out. We work with a group called Testicular Cancer Awareness Foundation based out of Grand Junction, Colorado. We try to get the word out and say that just like women need to do their monthly breast exams, men need to do their self-examinations. But, they don’t. It’s like a taboo subject and they don’t want to have anything to do it. The demographic age range is between fifteen and thirty-five. So, guys think that if they’re older or younger than that, it can’t happen. Well, if you have testicles, you’re at risk of cancer. I have four sons and one was diagnosed with it. My other three sons have a twenty-five per cent chance of getting it. People just don’t want to talk about it. Girls giggle about it. Guys die from this. It is one of the easiest cancers to correct if it’s caught soon enough but it’s also one of the most aggressive if it’s not. My son was lucky. We caught it within just days of his noticing a lump. We went into the doctor on Monday. We went to the urologist on Tuesday. His testicle was removed on Thursday. There was no chemo or radiation and that was it. He has to go in every six months for a checkup but he’s alive and healthy. The lady that started the Testicular Cancer Awareness Foundation…her son was diagnosed at age fourteen with stage 4 testicular cancer. He beat it and was doing really well until last year when it came back with a vengeance and killed him at age twenty-one. This is a very opportunistic cancer that will spread to the lymph nodes and the spread can triple in size in a month. That’s why it’s so aggressive and we insist that guys do their monthly checks. We’re still pushing to try to get the word out. Charter schools let us come in but public schools are different. We’ll go to health fairs and wherever else we can spread the word. A guy at a Worker’s Comp health fair kind of giggled about it but went to have a checkup and he told us later, ‘I found out I had it and I’m taking care of it.’ So, sometimes, it comes back to us that the word is being heard.’

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