As we wrap up No-Shave November, the month-long initiative to raise awareness about cancers that affect men, one Texas man now in remission is vowing to continue the mission.
The American Cancer Society predicts that, by the end of this year, there will have been 782 statewide cases of testicular cancer and 39 deaths. Here in Bexar County, there are 71 expected cases with two deaths.
Kyle DeLeon, who lives in Austin, hopes his story will inspire other men to get checked before it’s too late.
Two days before DeLeon’s 29th birthday, he began a journey that would change his life forever.
“I noticed a small lump on the underside of the back of my left testicle. It was probably roughly the size of half of a grain of rice,” DeLeon said.
He was prescribed antibiotics, but instead of improving, the situation kept getting worse. At the time he had just lost his job, but months later he was able to get on his wife’s insurance, and have more tests done. He learned he had testicular cancer.
“By the time that I was diagnosed, the testicle was probably roughly the size of like clementine orange,” DeLeon said.
Lower back and abdomen pain plagued DeLeon as well, but two days after diagnosis, the testicle was removed, and he began chemotherapy. It was the latest trek of a difficult journey, though DeLeon knew he was fortunate.
“My paternal grandfather actually died from testicular cancer before I was born. He was in his fifties,” DeLeon said.
Now 31 years old and cancer-free, he believes the difference was early detection.
“It’s really important to not put your health on the back burner,” DeLeon said. “Your ego is nowhere near worth your life.”
DeLeon now works with other survivors as a grassroots manager at the American Cancer Society, he helps them use stories to drive what he considers necessary legislative changes surrounding cancer.
Whether you or someone you love has cancer, knowing what to expect can help you cope. From basic information about cancer and its causes to in-depth information on specific cancer types – including risk factors, early detection, diagnosis, and treatment options – you’ll find it here.
Here are some quick facts from the American Cancer Society:
- The incidence rate of testicular cancer has been increasing in the US and many other countries for several decades. Lately, the rate of increase has slowed, but experts have not been able to find reasons for this.
- Testicular cancer is not common: about 1 of every 250 males will develop testicular cancer at some point during their lifetime.
- The average age at the time of diagnosis of testicular cancer is about 33. This is largely a disease of young and middle-aged men, but about 6% of cases occur in children and teens, and about 8% occur in men over the age of 55.
- Because testicular cancer usually can be treated successfully, a man’s lifetime risk of dying from this cancer is very low: about 1 in 5,000.