I have (or hopefully, had) Lance Armstrong cancer.

Not that it was a big surprise. I've known for some time that this was likely coming. After initial symptoms showed up in November, several weeks of doctor's visits and tests all culminated in the surgery two days ago. There were definitely tumors, and the urologist told me before the surgery that it showed a 95% likelihood of being cancer. The only way to tell for sure was to perform a radical inguinal orchiectomy, removal of the affected part, and send it to pathology for analysis.

As I was waking up from the operation on Thursday, the doctor came by and told me that it definitely looked like cancer, giving it about 99% odds. Close enough. We'll know 100% when the pathology results come back on Tuesday, but I'm pretty sure that 1% is going down to zero.

For now, the incision hurts like heck if I try to do anything besides lie in bed. Vicodin helps somewhat but I don't want to rely on it too much. Hopefully in the next few days I'll be able to move around a little bit better. I'll probably be back at work in another week or so.

On Tuesday I'll learn the results of the pathology tests, which will tell us a number of things. It turns out there are several different types of cancerous tumors that can show up here, and treatment strategy sometimes depends on what types are present. I'll probably also have a CT-scan done to see if it has spread to anywhere else in the body. If it has, then further treatment will be necessary. If not, then we can probably get away with just the surgery + close surveillance for the next couple of years to make sure nothing pops up.

At any rate, I'm not writing this for sympathy. While the word cancer often sounds like a death sentence (and unfortunately for some types, it essentially is), my case is not bleak at all. When caught early, testicular cancer has a nearly 100% cure rate. 70 to 80% of patients don't need any treatment beyond the initial surgery (fingers crossed). And even when caught in advanced stages (when it has already spread), the cure rates can be up to 80-90% or better, depending on the type of tumors found. I'm pretty darn optimistic.

The real reason I'm writing about such a personal issue on this blog is that the prime demographic for this form of cancer also happens to overlap with BYOND's prime demographic: males aged 15 to 35 years old. You have a 1 in 250 chance of getting this disease in your lifetime; if you're in the aforementioned age range, your chances go up. If you're white, they go up even more. Given these odds, it's overwhelmingly likely that someone else in BYOND's community either has it or will have it in the future.

I'll probably use this blog to write some more about the diagnosis and treatment process, but the most important message to take away is this: perform a self-examination monthly. Early diagnosis is absolutely the most important factor in treating this cancer! I know it's embarrassing (hey, I'm writing about it publicly), but it's better to be embarrassed than sick. And I know that men in particular often wait too long before seeing a doctor, hoping it will go away on its own (thanks to my wife for a little prodding on that).

Lance Armstrong waited until the cancer had spread to his lungs and brain. He had to have extensive chemotherapy and brain surgery. Even with modern success rates, he was still given less than a 50% chance of surviving. It would have been much easier if he hadn't waited!

I'm looking forward to a full recovery, after which I will follow in Lance's footsteps and win the Tour de France 7 straight times. Or at the very least, I should become a BIKE GOD again after all of this is done.

And for those who were wondering, I still have one remaining, and it is fully functional. (sorry if that was too much information!)
Whether or not you want sympathy, you have it.

But then, pretty much any negative condition which affects a man below the belt will garner him sympathy from most other men...
"And for those who were wondering, I still have one remaining, and it is fully functional. (sorry if that was too much information!)"

That just has to feel lopsided. Not to delve to deep, but are there faux-testes to at least give the illusion of normalcy?

And I'm also placing my bets on it being the left one, as it is always the left one. Damn the left one.
"And for those who were wondering, I still have one remaining, and it is fully functional. (sorry if that was too much information!)"

I lol'd.

I also lol'd at Popisfizzy's comment. This blog entry is the winner of lols deliverance for the day (So far).
At least if you are going to get cancer, there's no better time in history to get it. Not that this is a very reassuring sentiment, I know.

I started to wish you luck, but instead I will wish you good science and competent doctors. The latter seems to have a higher success rate.

And for those who were wondering, I still have one remaining, and it is fully functional.

I believe that one now gains superhuman abilities to compensate, right?
I'm glad to hear that you're okay! Even though you caught it early, I'm sure that the whole process has been a bit scary.

But yeah, thanks for bringing this up on your blog. Most of us don't think about stuff like this until it happens to us... but I think that the reminder about monthly self-checks and early diagnosis is absolutely invaluable.

Best of luck with your recovery!
Not to change the topic here, but about a year or two ago I had testicular tortion. The age ranges and statistics for it are parallel with those of testicular cancer. It's a birth defect and often isn't known of until the testicle twists (I guess you can say knots or puts a kink into) the vein letting blood out of the testicle. Needless to say, if you don't get help, blood goes in and doesn't get out (POP!). So, yeah.

If you ever have pain down there, get it looked into. Don't whither in pain and die because your sack hurts.

(Incidentally, it was the left one...)
When I read the title of this, I feared the worst. I'm really glad you're going to be alright.

I'm one of those guys who hates going to the doctor for anything let alone go for anything that requires a depantsing. I still need to get this huge lump in my arm looked at, though it's been there so long that I'm sure it's a cyst (but it's always good to be sure).

Maybe I'll cut it out myself just so I can tell everybody about it again :) Just kidding.

Anyways, I'll be sure to check myself every once in a while. I never thought it affected people as young as me.

Wow, and all I had was a chest infection...

Hope to see you well in the near future.
Hope you get better.
Very cool of you to put this info out there (especially the links). Luck to ya, Mike. Get well.
If you're white, they go up even more.


When I was pretty young the doctors thought I had testicular torsion. I was lying in a hospital bed and I overheard a doctor talking to a nurse nearby about "having to cut it off". Apparantly by the time my mum and dad came to visit I was terrified, unconsolable and wouldn't come out from underneath the bed sheets.

In the end they actually wheeled me into the operation room, gassed me, cut me open and realised there was nothing wrong and stuck me back together again. =/

(P.S. I never, ever tell anyone that story. It's embarrassing enough when my parents tell friends (esp. girlfriends) at the dinner table)

I half hope I do get cancer at some point in my life, just so I can high-five the bemused doctor when he/she delivers the news. It'd almost (almost) be worth it.

Oh yeah, also: cancer is probably the best ever candidate for 'a stitch in time saves nine' - only now Mike has all his eggs in one basket, as such. :P
I'm glad to see you have a good attitude about the experience! Remember, a pessimist says the athletic cup is half empty, but an optimist says it's half full. :)
From what I understand the cup is still completely full.

Seriously though thanks for the information. I had no idea I should be preforming these sorts of checks. Every second Wednesday is maintenance day for me, but up until now it's been almost completely for vanity reasons (deep cleaning my skin, trimming any hair that's getting out of control, junk like that).
Half the reason I got into the habit is because I knew I'd eventually have to start doing stuff like this.

Anyway, thanks again for the info. I'd wish you luck but it sounds like you don't need it. So like Deadron says, good science!