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Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Insight from a Cancer Survivor


A day after we learned that the tumor Nene recently had removed was cancerous, TrueHoop reader Chris emails thoughts about his own experience with testicular cancer.

Please realize Chris is describing his own experience, doesn't have specific knowledge of Nene's case beyond what has been in the media, and is not a doctor.

I am a cancer survivor myself, of the same variety as Nene.

Three years ago, I had surgery to remove a tumor (which requires the removal of the affected testicle). I then went through chemotherapy for four months. I was only 23 when I discovered the cancer, and was surprised to find out that men 18-35 are the most susceptible to this type of cancer.

When I heard that Nene had a tumor removed, but no one knew from where, I knew. I wasn't really comfortable talking about it at first, either, so I figured that Nene might be trying to keep it undisclosed.

The media began reporting that the tumor was benign, but more testing was to come, I also figured that they would discover some cancer. From what my doctors told me, 99% of masses detected down there are cancerous. Also, when detected early, most avoid chemotherapy or radiation. And 99% of patients with this kind of cancer fully recover.

The surgery goes through the abdomen to get down there, so the incision through the abdomen muscle requires a couple of weeks for full mobility to return. I know I had a tough time getting around for the first two weeks, but I was playing ball within five or six weeks.  (The cut through the abdomen is pretty painful, and one doesn't realize how much we use our abdomen muscles for ordinary movements, let alone running and jumping.) I fully expect Nene to be back to playing in a month or two.