When testicular cancer strikes, it strikes young and it can strike anyone – from Jimmy Gomez ‘Taboo’ from The Black Eyed Peas, who was diagnosed at age 39 to the ‘ordinary guy’, Cameron Green, from Somerset West, who has been battling testicular cancer since the tender age of 32.
“Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men under 40,” says Garron Gsell, chief executive and founder of the Men’s Foundation, which manages the Movember campaign in South Africa under license from the Movember Foundation.
Movember has one goal: to stop men dying too young.
Men die on average six years earlier than women. Be the difference and help us change this startling stat. Join the fight and raise funds and awareness for men’s health at www.za.movember.com.
“When it comes to their health, too many men don't talk and don't take action. If you notice something isn’t feeling right, don’t put it off and hope it goes away. With early detection, there is a 95% chance of survival.
There is a lot that needs to be done, but by talking about men’s health, by encouraging our friends to take action for their health and supporting them, we can help keep the men we love around to live happier, healthier, longer lives,” Gsell says.
Cameron Green’s 10 year journey with testicular cancer began with a feeling that something was “just not right”.
There was no specific pain, and nothing that he could identify as being a problem, but he and his wife had been trying to fall pregnant for five years so they thought a good place to start would be with an urologist.
The result was a diagnosis of an early stage cancerous growth in his left testicle, and a trip to surgery the same day for an orchidectomy. And that should have been the end of it.
There is only a 5% chance of recurrence, so Green was confident that he was in the clear.
Shortly after the orchidectomy, his wife fell pregnant and gave birth to a son, Braeden.
“But, I am living proof that you should always go for all the follow up visits,” he says as he recalls the shock of discovering 18 months later that the cancer had metasticised into his lungs, kidney and spine.
Facing extensive chemotherapy, the couple decided to visit a fertility clinic to ensure that they would have the option of expanding their family after the treatment was over.
“And I am so glad that we did, because six weeks after the chemo was over, my wife was pregnant with our second son, Ethan.”
“Men are always discouraged from listening to their hearts, or being intuitive,” Green says.
“But because I allowed myself to do that, I am here today, and so are my sons. If I’d chosen to be macho, this story would have had a very different ending.”
Green is making sure that his sons, who have a genetic predisposition to cancer, are fully informed, in an age-appropriate way.
Green is passionate about spreading the word about cancer in men. He works as a senior leader for the Livestrong Foundation, and is determined to do what he can to ensure that more men are aware of their health.
“I am part of the very small percentage of people in our country who have access to excellent health care,” he says.
“That needs to change. We are working in partnership with traditional healers and doctors to do what we can to ensure that poverty + cancer does not need to equal a death sentence.”
The Movember Foundation is working to help men live longer, happier, healthier lives. With money raised, the Foundation has funded over 1,200 game-changing programmes in prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention around the world, whilst positively challenging the way in which men’s health issues are researched and addressed.