Testicular cancer

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TC diagnosis - From my referral to oncologist appointment

Jon5465
Posted by

Hi all,

I just thought I would leave a post here as this community has been a treasure trove of knowledge / positivity for me over the past few weeks and I just wanted to say a big thank you too all the contributors.

Im planning to post a full diary in the next week or so from my initial GP referral all the way through to chemotherapy and hopefully onwards. 

A brief overview of my particular situation; Following a few weeks of GP appointments, with me complaining that my right testicle felt ‘odd’ and my GP telling me not to worry, I finally managed to convince him to give me an ultrasound. This mind you was already after a number of physical examinations + healthy blood tests which didn’t flag anything up. 

So i have an ultrasound and within 2 days I get a call from my GP asking me to come back in. I should also mention at this point I also suffer quite badly from allergies + eczema, and the week prior to my US i also had a series of blood allergy tests undertaken, so I was not sure which results I was being called in for. It turns out I was getting both sets of results. He opened with my US report; a 29x20mm mass had been detected in my right testicle ( I told you Mr Dr! ) and I also had a strong allergic reaction to both dust mites + mould spores with my blood allergy tests. This will become relevant a little later on  

My GP advised me I would need to see a urologist and thanks to BUPA cover which my employer offered, within 2 days I was meeting the man who would soon be removing my right testicle. When I met my surgeon he explained that due to the masses size my entire testicle would certainly need to be removed. This was the moment where I discovered that you simply cannot biopsy a testicle with a fine needle aspiration... and I’d soon be somewhat lopsided in the trouser department. 

My my surgeon booked me in for another battery of blood tests, another ultrasound, a full body CT scan with contrast medium & finally an appointment with the hospitals sperm banking department. 1 week later and I am back in his office reviewing the onslaught of tests which were undertaken. In summary, all my blood test cancer markers were within the normal ranges + i had managed to deposit a satisfactory sperm sample, so I was all set for any future baby making. It was at this point my surgeon mentioned he was very concerned with my CT scan results. Nearly every lymph node in my groin + pelvis was inflamed and I was then advised this could spell bad news for my eventual cancer staging. I informed the surgeon that as a result of having severe eczema + allergies all my life my lymph nodes have always been consistently swollen for as long as I could remember. I then proceeded to show him the results from a prior CT scan I had 6 years before which presented similar inflammation to all my lymph nodes. This prior scan + my earlier allergy test results somewhat appeased him and he then proceeded to ask me if I wanted a prosthetic replacement, something I opted for without much thought. I was then booked in for surgery the following Friday and sent on my way.

I spent the remainder of that week getting my affairs in order at work as I’d been advised that I’d be off for the following 2-3 weeks after surgery. Time flew by and before I new it I was lying on my back being asked to count from 10 to 1 in the pre surgery anaesthesia suite. Surgery went by without a hitch and I was very happy to see they had successfully removed the correct testicle.

I was sent home the very same day and proceeded to recover in bed for a day or two. By day three I was up and about and by the end of the first week I felt pretty normal. I was advised to wear very tight speedos to aid with recovery and to prevent any hematomas forming  which I reluctantly did. I also kept an ice pack within constant reach first 2-3 days as it seemed to help a lot with the pain.

Two weeks following my surgery and I was back in my surgeons office with my trousers around my ankles once again. He was happy with his butchery and noted that I might find the prosthetic strange for a month or so whilst  it settles etc.

My surgeon then explained that my biopsy showed I had a classic sarcoma and staged me at 1a which meant that the cancer was localised to my testicle only and hadn’t spread to my lymphatic system. For further staging info you can check out the link I will leave at the bottom of this post. Despite this good news I did however have something which is called invasion of the Rete Testis. This indicates that the cancer had started to spread to the ducts which I believe link the testicle back to my body. This was apparently bad and put me at a greater risk of relapse in the future. My surgeon then uttered the dreaded C word mentioning that normally I would be offered surveillance only considering my early staging, however a single dose of adjunctive chemotherapy will be required due to the rete testis invasion.

This now brings me up to date with where I currently am in this strange process. I will likely meet my oncologist next week and following some online research I believe I will be offered a drug called Carboplatin. This is merely speculation however and I plan to provide an update once I know more.

Well done if you have made it this far through my ramblings and I hope that my story can be of assistance to someone. Once again thank you to everyone who has contributed to this incredible site. 

Jon

 www.cancerresearchuk.org/.../stages-tnm

Odbball
Posted by

Hi Jon,

Sorry to find another new person here, but welcome.

Well done for being persistent with your local GP, all we can do is find a lump and insist it is checked out, the dr’s will then do the rest.  With a little prodding from ourselves!

You sound quite level headed with it all and your journey to this point is a fairly familiar story, albeit your lymph nodes are unusually large!  

Did you mean to type sarcoma, or did you mean seminoma, as the two are quite different?

i have no experience of carboplatin, experiences on here range from “barely knew I’d had it” to “it wiped me out for a couple of weeks”.

As a stage 1 seminoma (I’m assuming it is rather than sarcoma) then your chances of being alive in 5 years have just increased.  Congratulations!

take care

dan

Jon5465
Posted by

Hi Dan,

Thanks for the message. Whoops, good find! I did indeed mean to write seminoma and not sarcoma. I will have to edit my previous post.

I must admit the initial diagnosis did hit me quite hard, however since discovering this site and researching cancer generally I now fully appreciate just how much worse it could have been. As I think someone posted on here a few months back, and I don’t mean to be flippant here, but I feel like I’ve sort of won the cancer lottery by contracting TC, like there was such a thing. That probably comes off completely wrongly.

Thanks once again for the reply and look after yourself.

Jon 

woody1875
Posted by

Jon

Yep you really have won the cancer lottery just like i did, any doctor would tell you the same " if your going to get cancer then this is the one to get" you will more than likely have the one dose Carboplatin which usually takes about an hour to be administered but first you will have a day in hospital having a radiation injection followed by 3 separate blood tests over a 8 hour day and this tells the hospital and doctors what dose of Carboplatin to give you as everyone's kidneys react in different ways and they need to be sure what level of chemo to give you, as the saying goes they poison you enough to kill the cancer but not enough to kill you. The reason you have the one dose is because even though the cancer has not actually spread the tumor does release millions of cancer cells which need to be mopped up and destroyed before they set up camp again. 

The one dose carboplatin does not effect body hair so you will not loose any, i had it 7 years ago and to be honest i did not even know i had received it, only side effect i had was a hard vein due to the chemo as it goes into your vein very cold straight from the fridge. The nurses are fantastic and they make you feel very comfortable and like i said it takes about an hour and job done. Everyone reacts differently but for me no issues. 

All the best.