Over two years ago, I shared the story of Reddit user sharky143, who, after being encouraged by a fellow Redditor to see a doctor if any signs of testicular cancer were present, quickly scheduled a visit to have his testicles examined. A mass was discovered that turned out to be cancerous. Both testicles had abnormal growths in them, actually. “Reddit saved my life,” sharky143 claimed.
It was a great story that I had forgotten about soon after publishing it.
Fast forward 28 months to yesterday, when I received a direct message on Twitter from Chris Hancock, a guy whom I’ve never met or even interacted with before. He had this to say:
Hey Dillon. A little over 2 years ago you posted an article on TFM titled “Dude With Ball Cancer Says http://Reddit.com Saved His Life”. I had some concerns myself that I’d been putting off for a while…but your article kind of inspired me to get checked out. Long story short, I wound up having Stage II testicular cancer during my senior year in college. After some surgeries and rounds of chemo, I was cancer free approx. 6 months after my diagnosis. Since then, I graduated on time, got married, and started my career.
Just wanted to say thanks for sharing the article. I’m sure I would have manned up and eventually went to the doctor…but reading your article definitely encouraged me to quit being stupid and go ASAP. If I would have waited much longer, it’s very likely that the cancer would have spread further.
I haven’t told many people that the reason I went to the doctor was because I read an article on TFM (No offense). But I honestly do owe it to you guys for spreading awareness. Many guys like me wind up having to go through chemo or worse because they don’t detect it soon enough. Some guys aren’t as lucky. Anyways, thanks again. -Chris
No offense taken. I don’t know if I’m sharing with others that my life was changed for the better by the same site that advocates sending homeless people to Mars, so I feel you.
After asking Chris if I could share his story, and him agreeing that it, too, could be a source of encouragement for others, he offered to share more details of his journey from diagnosis to a cancer-free life.
I first visited the campus medical clinic in late February of 2014. The doc there sent me to get an ultrasound and after that I met with a urologist. He informed me that I did in fact have testicular cancer, and that they would need to remove my left testicle.
The surgery went fine and I quickly recovered, but after reviewing CT scans it was determined that the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes in my lower abdomen. That meant I would have to receive chemotherapy. I started my first rounds of chemo in April and finished in June. After a few weeks, I had more scans and they found that the cancer wasn’t gone completely. This meant that I would need surgery to remove the cancerous lymph nodes in my abdomen. I was referred to an oncologist and urologist at IU (the same docs that healed Lance Armstrong).
I had my final surgery there in late July of 2014. Nowadays, I just have to go to my local oncologist for blood work and scans periodically…as of May of this year I’m still 100% cancer free.
Week. Made. Thank you for reaching out to me, Chris, and thank you for sharing your story.
Guys, learn from Chris, and the story he was inspired by, and see a doctor if you have even the slightest suspicion that you have something cancer-y going on with your balls. Get checked out..