"I felt like I'd been hit by a freight train" 

Surviving testicular cancer gave Mark Adams a new lease of life. Trekking through Peru and visiting the Great Wall of China, he admits, just wouldn't have been on his to-do list before.

 

 "It was the middle of 2003 when I noticed a lump in my testicle, while in the shower. It was a complete chance finding. I'd heard about cysts so I didn't think much of it until about mid-September, when I thought it wasn't right and I should do something about it.

"So I saw my doctor and was referred to a specialist for an ultrasound, which confirmed it was cancer. I felt like I'd been hit by a freight train. I thought, 'What if this is the beginning of the end?'

"It was quite hard concentrating and taking in what the doctor was saying, because I was so upset. I had to try to put these feelings aside and to understand what they were telling me.

"That evening, I had to decide who I should tell. I told my parents over the phone and they reacted very well. I then visited the Cancer Research UK website to do some research about testicular cancer.

"After surgery to remove the testicle, I went to see a consultant at the Royal Marsden Hospital. I had two weeks of radiotherapy, which was pretty straightforward, although it does affect you. I had the radiotherapy on my pelvis and stomach, so mealtimes became difficult. I didn't eat much during those two weeks. A couple of nights I felt nauseous and stayed in bed for the whole day.

"One thing I felt was guilt. When you're waiting for your radiotherapy, you're surrounded by people in a much worse situation than yourself. They might be going through chemotherapy, losing their hair and looking really ill, whereas you feel OK.

"Three years later, I could breathe a sigh of relief. Since the cancer was treated, I've been physically healthy and have upped my game. I've done some charity events in China and been to Peru on a BBC documentary, through Cancer Research UK. I've also run the London Marathon.

"No one can ever underestimate the psychological impact of being diagnosed with cancer. But on a positive note, taking myself to the Andes and the Great Wall of China aren't necessarily things I'd have done before. I want to give something back to the charity and do something worthwhile." 

This case study was provided by Cancer Research UK.

Page last reviewed: 30/06/2016

Next review due: 30/06/2019