Learning the Hard Way
- Refrigeration engineer Graham Berney, 41, is doing just that after beating testicular cancer, and wants to encourage all males of a certain age to drop their pants, to get checked for cancer that is.
- The husband and father-of-one admits he was too shy to get the lump on his penis checked, and by the time he addressed it, it had spread to his stomach and shoulder. He acknowledges he is very lucky to have gotten through it.
- Testicular cancer is not common, according to ACS. In fact, about 1 of every 250 males will develop testicular cancer at some point during their lifetime. In contrast, since testicular cancer can usually be treated successfully, a man’s lifetime risk of dying from this cancer is very low—about 1 in 5,000. But it can happen to any male, so learn from Graham and don’t get cocky.
Graham Berney, 41, is doing just that after beating prostate cancer, and wants to encourage all males of a certain age to drop their pants, to get checked for cancer that is.Read More
Unfortunately, the disease spread to his stomach and even shoulder before he finally addressed the condition. He had his tumor and testicle removed and underwent three months of “intensive” chemotherapy.
“I did notice I had a swollen testicle but I was a typical man and just ignored it for two years,” Graham admitted to the Irish Examiner. “It became very sore and eventually the pain started to wake me up. Then I suffered chronic pain in my stomach and back but I thought it was to do with my diet of takeaways and so bought heat wraps from a pharmacist to dull the constant pain.”
An Advanced Testicular Cancer Diagnosis
“My partner Vicky and I were driving to Kerry for the weekend in late March 2019 and the pain became ferociously bad,” the Dublin-based family man continued, explaining that he couldn’t even get out of bed the next morning and was taken to the hospital via ambulance.
“I was asked to drop my trousers and told I had a tumour which needed to be operated on immediately,” he said.
Graham saved some of his sperm in case he wanted to have another child, then he was operated on a few days later.
After results from further tests came back, doctors discovered how far the disease had spread. “I needed intensive chemotherapy over three months which absolutely wiped me out. But thankfully, I’m free of cancer.”
That’s definitely what counts! Although Graham’s journey is, of course, not to be discredited. But it is inspiring that he reached the finish line and came out on the other side. Waiting so long to get checked, he could have easily had a different outcome.
The refrigeration engineer was told to take two years off to heal, but was back on the job after seven months. We do not necessarily condone going against a doctor’s orders, after intensive surgeries especially, but you are entitled to your own decisions with your health. Getting back to earning money was important to him.
“I was lucky,” Graham said. “For two years, I ignored a lump because I was too embarrassed to go to a doctor. That shouldn’t be the case. If any man sees any lump or anything unusual, go to the doctor, drop your trousers and get it seen to as soon as possible.”
Understanding Testicular Cancer
Testicular cancer starts in the testicles (also called testes; a single testicle is called a testis), and these organs are part of the male reproductive system. The two organs are each normally a little smaller than a golf ball in adult males, according to the American Cancer Society. The testes are held within a sac of skin called the scrotum, which hangs under the base of the penis.
Testicular cancer is not common, according to ACS. In fact, about 1 of every 250 males will develop testicular cancer at some point during their lifetime. In contrast, since testicular cancer can usually be treated successfully, a man’s lifetime risk of dying from this cancer is very low—about 1 in 5,000.
Dr. Edwin Posadas, the medical director of the Urologic Oncology Program at Cedars-Sinai Cancer, previously told SurvivorNet that testicular cancer doesn’t often present with pain, but it can.
“Most men will present with some sort of mass on their testicle; a sexual partner or spouse may feel the mass when they’re being intimate,” he said, adding that some men may notice blood in their ejaculate as a result of testicular cancer, which is a less common symptom.
Obviously Graham’s cancer had spread so far that symptoms at that point were even more evident, but we assure you it is not a good idea to let that happen. Get checked immediately if you have any lingering symptoms, especially if you discover a lump in your penis.
Contributing by SurvivorNet staff.