One of many health concerns for men is cancer, and more specifically testicular cancer. About half of testicular cancers occur in men between the ages of 20 and 34. But this cancer can affect males of any age, including infants and elderly men. In 2014, The American Cancer Society estimates there will be about 8,820 new cases of testicular cancer diagnosed. About 380 men will die of testicular cancer. The following are personal stories from two young Perkins County men.
“This past year I was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Although it was only a stage one cancer and had been detected at an early stage, I still had to go through the normal protocol of nine weeks of chemo,” said Hosmer Doolittle, 24, of Madrid.
So, in regards to Men’s Health Month, Doolittle advises anyone else who might find themselves in the situation of feeling that something is not right with their health is do not wait to get it checked out.
Testicular cancer is most common in men ages 16-35.
“No matter what age you are treat your problem as a serious thing and then if it is not, you have lost very little,” Doolittle said. “If it is something big, if it is not caught soon enough it can quickly spread throughout your body. I am now done with chemo, and back to my full health.”
Doolittle thanked the up-to-date Perkins County Hospital and its friendly staff.
“I was able to take my treatments right close to home which greatly lessoned the stress of having cancer. I am especially thankful for the oncology nurse who made it possible to do chemo in Grant,” Doolittle said. “And a thanks to all the other nurses and doctors that helped me in this time.”
He explained a hospital is just a shell with complicated machines inside- it cannot heal people, it cannot make people feel better, nor can it cannot find and cure cancer; but ‘that is what doctors and nurses are there for and they did an excellent job of it,’ he said.
Doolittle and wife Jana have a baby boy, Thomas
In October of 2011, seventeen days after his twenty-sixth birthday, Lucas Arias was diagnosed with testicular cancer. He had noticed tenderness in his testicles that attributed to playing football.
“After a couple of weeks, I made an appointment to see my doctor. By then there was swelling and a hardening,” Arias said.
An ultrasound showed a growth that was possibly cancerous. He was referred to an urologist who scheduled a radical orchiectomy (removal of the testicle via the abdominal wall) after seeing high tumor markers in Arias’ blood work.
Doctors removed one testicle and his spermical cord. The cancer had already begun to metastasize, meaning it could follow the spermical cord to his lymph nodes.
He had one month to recover from the surgery before he began chemotherapy. His oncologist recommended two cycles of chemo (three weeks each), which he started the week of Thanksgiving.
He was given three different chemo drugs and ‘Mondays were the worst, when the duration of the therapy was six hours long,’ Arias said.
“I lost most of my body hair, had terrible heart burn, nausea and lack of energy. Thankfully, I was able to do my job and work out. Keeping physically active helped me emotionally. I finished chemo the day after Christmas.”
In March, he had a Retriperitoneal Lymph Node Dissection. Eight holes were made in his abdomen, and twenty five lymph nodes were removed via a robotic surgical machine called da Vinci.
Two years later, he still sees a urologist and have blood work done. But as time passes, he sees the oncologist less.
“I play flag football, softball and basketball. I continue to lift weights. I have struggled with depression and talk with my doctor to stay on top of it,” Arias said. “I have learned since my cancer that tomorrow isn’t promised and the present and my health is a gift. Lastly, I will share what my doctor told me. My cancer was very aggressive. Had I waited one month, my outcome may have been very different. “
Arias is the son of Jody Snogren and now lives in Lincoln.
~Provided by Perkins County Health Services