Testicular cancer survivor: Do your self-checks regularly

Before I was diagnosed with testicular cancer at age 21 last year, I only did self-checks in the shower when I remembered to. That translated to about once every two or three months. I knew that the disease usually occurred in younger men, but I also thought I’d felt a lump a few years earlier, and it turned out to be normal. The lump I found on my right testicle in February 2017 seemed pretty big to me, so it must have formed fairly quickly. I went to my local urologist to get it checked out. My doctor told me the testicle needed to be removed, whether the lump was cancerous or not. He’s a family friend and someone I trust, so I let him perform the surgery in Beaumont two days later. He referred me to MD Anderson afterwards for additional treatment. At the time, I only lived about five miles away from the Texas Medical Center. And MD Anderson is the best cancer hospital in the world, so I knew that was where I wanted to be. Why I chose to bank my sperm At MD Anderson, I met with Dr. Amishi Shah. She confirmed that the lump had been cancerous and provided an official diagnosis: I’d had a non-seminomatous germ cell tumor. Those form in the cells that produce sperm and are pretty fast-growing, so she recommended one cycle of BEP (a combination of bleomycin, etoposide and cisplatin) chemotherapy. Just one dose of that regimen can make a man infertile for up to two years, so before I started treatment, I visited a sperm bank. I’m...