Man, 26, with Testicular Cancer Raises Awareness of His Unusual First Symptom

Final calendar year, Sal Gomez recognized he felt agony in his proper testicle and lessen back again. The third-yr professional medical scholar imagined it’s possible he pulled a muscle mass while doing the job or training. When the ache did not go absent, he visited his health practitioner and discovered the explanation for his ache: He experienced testicular cancer.

“I was genuinely considering I harm myself, and I was tremendous occupied with the surgical rotation. It’s like a 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. kind of thing,” Gomez, 26, a health care college student at The Ohio Point out College of Drugs, tells These “I was stunned becoming 25 many years old and diagnosed with most cancers.”

Gomez is sharing his tale to elevate recognition of testicular most cancers, a exceptional cancer that impacts typically teens and younger grown ups.

“We must discuss about it a lot more for the reason that it’s the most typical cancer, despite the fact that uncommon, in young guys,” he claims. “You’re in the primary of your life.”

‘Weird’ pain leads to prognosis

Soon after 12-hour times in the healthcare facility as a professional medical student in a surgical rotation and then studying all evening, Gomez thought when he very first felt the discomfort in his testicle and again that he had pulled a muscle mass.

The chemotherapy used for testicular cancer is known for making people feel nauseous and Sal Gomez had to grapple with that feeling for much of his treatment.
The chemotherapy utilized for testicular most cancers is acknowledged for making people truly feel nauseous and Sal Gomez had to grapple with that experience for a great deal of his treatment.Courtesy Sal Gomez

“I was not seriously positive why it was heading on there. I by no means experienced anything like that before,” he recollects. “After two months, it wasn’t genuinely heading away or finding improved.” Gomez done a self-examination on his testicle and didn’t feel any “lumps or bumps,” but he still scheduled an appointment with his key treatment medical doctor. “He was not tremendous worried about what was going on,” Gomez suggests. “He did purchase a bunch of labs and an ultrasound.”

Gomez commenced to experience improved, and with his active program, he place off his ultrasound. Primarily based on what he’d realized in medical university, he did not believe he experienced the common indicators of testicular most cancers.

“When you study about testicular cancer, you study indicators like a lump,” he says. “You seriously don’t believe about most cancers being unpleasant. You typically believe of a pea-sized lump (on) a testicle that’s not agonizing but perhaps has some form of enlargement.”

But the discomfort returned, and by January, he resigned himself to undergoing the ultrasound.

“Pain truly shouldn’t be coming and likely,” Gomez states. “I did an additional test, and at the time, I didn’t really feel a whole lot there.”

But the ultrasound found a mass.

“There are not actually lots of benign tumors in the testicle, and mine seemed significantly cancerous,” he says. “I was really astonished.”

Shortly following, Gomez satisfied with an oncologist to arrive up with a procedure program. Due to the fact he had back again pain as very well, doctors worried the cancer had distribute.

“A pair of times afterwards, I obtained a CT scan of my stomach and my (pelvis) that unveiled what the back again agony was,” Gomez says. “I had these incredibly enlarged lymph nodes in my reduce back area, up all-around where my kidneys are.” 

Even after chemotherapy, Sal Gomez's lymph nodes looked enlarged. He underwent an 8-hour-long procedure to have some removed.
Even after chemotherapy, Sal Gomez’s lymph nodes looked enlarged. He underwent an 8-hour-extended process to have some removed.Courtesy Sal Gomez

The dimensions of his lymph nodes was a stressing discovery for the reason that testicular often moves into the kidneys, Gomez claims. But fortuitously further scans revealed that it hadn’t spread.

About a week afterwards, he had his testicle eradicated and acquired he experienced stage 2 testicular most cancers. He would need chemotherapy.

“I did nine weeks of chemotherapy following having the main tumor removed. It was fairly brutal,” Gomez claims, including that his treatment method normally induced nausea.

Stick to-up scans discovered that his lymph nodes responded to the chemo rather, but they have been continue to enlarged more than enough that Gomez’s medical practitioners thought there could continue to be cancer. So, they carried out a lymph node dissection, an 8-hour treatment to take out them.

“At the finish of June, the pathology arrived again as no viable most cancers,” Gomez states.

Recovering from two surgeries and chemotherapy felt tough at times, but Sal Gomez has slowly been able to resume his normal activities, including going to the gym.
Recovering from two surgical procedures and chemotherapy felt hard at times, but Sal Gomez has gradually been ready to resume his typical activities, which includes going to the gymnasium.Courtesy Sal Gomez

Testicular most cancers

Testicular cancer normally impacts younger individuals, in accordance to the American Most cancers Society.

“It is a top rated most cancers for younger gentlemen in their teenage a long time to probably their early 30s. So, it’s a massive deal for younger adult men,” Dr. J. Paul Monk, a professional medical oncologist at The Ohio State College Comprehensive Cancer Center, tells Right “It’s not a major killer, thankfully, since it’s so very well addressed.”

Persons with testicular most cancers ordinarily bear operation to take away the testicle and then may possibly get chemotherapy.

“Surgery is the bedrock of testicular most cancers procedure,” Monk states. “It genuinely responds so nicely to chemotherapy in the highly developed and early (phases).”  

Monk claims that if it’s discovered early, some individuals do not will need chemotherapy or radiation. Doctors stay uncertain why it impacts youthful men and women much more than older. Individuals who have an undescended testicle at delivery may well be at an amplified threat of producing the testicular cancer, Monk states. The most obvious symptom is a lump in the testicle, which is why doctors advocate that gentlemen grow to be common with what is regular for their bodies.    

“We say do a self-testicular examination the moment a month,” Monk states. “If you observe a mass or something’s completely wrong, let any individual know mainly because … before somewhat than afterwards is constantly fantastic.” 

A common sign of testicular cancer is a lump on the testicle. Sal Gomez never felt a lump, just pain.
A frequent indicator of testicular cancer is a lump on the testicle. Sal Gomez hardly ever felt a lump, just ache. Courtesy Sal Gomez

Surgical removal of a testicle affects fertility, and generally medical doctors really encourage their clients to preserve sperm in case they facial area fertility concerns afterwards. But there’s superior news about testicular most cancers.

“We are continue to quite very pleased that even in the advanced environment, we are anticipating a heal,” Monk suggests. “It’s just one of the brightest spots in oncology due to the fact (testicular most cancers) went from a generally fatal illness in advanced options to a largely curable disease.”

Cancer and health care college

As a healthcare student, Gomez had accessibility to professional medical journals, so he could’ve taken his exploration much deeper than the normal affected individual. But he seasoned sufficient panic that he attempted not to delve far too deep into the literature about his most cancers and remedy.

“I was trying to limit myself,” he suggests. “You understand about it and then it’s going on to you. … It is a actually odd practical experience.”

Recovering from his lymph node operation arrived with problems. He begun retaining fluid in his stomach, making it challenging for him to hold foods down. They drained numerous liters from his abdomen.

Gomez initially felt superior afterward, but two months later, he experienced to return to the medical center because of much more fluid.

“I had 5 liters taken (out), which was a large amount,” he states. “That was rather difficult mainly because I would not seriously be capable to sleep if I experienced all the fluid in me. I was super nauseous.”

Thankfully, the fluid accumulation stopped, and he was slowly able to restart typical routines and even go to the fitness center. While he receives scans often to make positive the most cancers doesn’t return, it has a small recurrence amount. He not long ago bought engaged and appears to be ahead to starting his fourth year of health-related school, which he had to put off for his treatment.

Gomez suggests that testicular most cancers will come with a stigma and he hopes individuals come to feel considerably less ashamed to communicate about it.

“I experienced to explain to most people that I’m heading to eliminate my testicle, and on top rated of that I feel the biggest matter is — and I’m an case in point of this — males really don’t want to go to the health care provider,” Gomez claims. “If we do not communicate about it, how can we obtain these really dangerous things?”