Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of cancer do you have?

I have testicular cancer. The types of cancer cells found in my body, if you want to get technical were primarily embryonal carcinoma, but also with touches of teratoma and yolk sac (which is most frequently found in much younger cancer patients). This is considered non-seminoma cancer.

Testicular cancer affects fewer than 8,000 men each year — a small percentage of the nearly 1.5 million people diagnosed with cancer in 2007, a mere .5% — and last year only 380 men died from testicular cancer. Fortunately, those are damn good odds. UPDATE (10/3/08): Even though there has been a recurrence of my cancer, my oncologist has told me that my prognosis remains as positive as ever. UPDATE (05/10/13): I am now considered “cancer free,” and have not had any abnormal tests since late 2008.

Did you have surgery?

Yes, I already have had two. The first was a radical inguinal orchiectomy on Tuesday, September 4, 2007. This means they removed my entire right testicle, along with the tumor that was associated with it. On February 2, 2009 I had a retroperitoneal lymph node dissection (RPLND), when they removed all of the lymph nodes on the right side of my abdomen. This was done largely as a precautionary measure (since the cancer had spread to this part of my lymphatic system) and in order to remove the remainder of a tumor that was not killed by the High Dose Chemo that I received in November and December of 2008.

Did your cancer metastasized (spread)?

Yes. The pathology report from my first surgery indicated that it was found to have entered my blood vessels, spermatic cord, and lymphatic system. They also discovered three tumors in my right lung, which is a common destination for testicular cancer. These tumors were killed by the initial rounds of chemotherapy I received in late 2007.

How did they treat your cancer?

Chemotherapy and surgery. The type of chemotherapy used on testicular cancer, regardless of stage, is very regular and is known as PEB or BEP, an acronym for the three drugs used in combination. They are cisplatin (or Platinol), etoposide, and bleomycine. I completed treatment at Indiana University in Indianapolis in December that is known as High Dose Chemo with Stem Cell Support (or Rescue) for my reccurance. I received two cycles of this treatment, lasting about three weeks apiece. I hadsurgery to remove the remainder of a tumor in my abdomen in February 2009, and am slated to begin oral chemo for three months sometime this month, unless my white blood count is too low. UPDATE (05/10/13): My doctors and I decided to forego the oral chemo.

What is the current status of your cancer?

See “What kind of cancer do you have?” above.

 

How can I help?

There are lots of ways you can help make a difference in the fight against cancer. First, check out the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACSCAN). You can also help by donating to the American Cancer Society (ACS), or by volunteering. Dawn and I were lucky that the ACS had volunteer drivers that could sometimes pick me up from chemo when Dawn could not get away from work, and there are many other ways volunteers can help cancer patients and survivors.

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4 Responses to “Frequently Asked Questions”

  1. Your blog is great. I found it because my fiancé might be referred to Dr. Einhorn. His testicular cancer is both seminoma and non-seminoma. He had both the abdominal and lung surgeries. While he was doing chemo a cancerous tumor continued to grow in his brain. The numbers we have been given are not encouraging. Your blog is.

    • Katie, I’m sorry to hear of your fiance’s situation–but am relieved to hear that he will be treated by Dr. Einhorn. Einhorn is the best, and while his bedside manner is sometimes clinical, you can rely on him to be honest and treat your fiance to the best of his ability. Good luck.

  2. My name is Steven, a 24 year old guy in NYC I have testicular cancer and my RPLND is scheduled for 5/24/13. I am scared as hell. Would it be possible to connect? Let me know. I feel completely alone in all of this. Doctors speak another language. My friends have no idea what to say. I would really appreciate 15-20 minutes of your time.

    Thank you for considering this.

    917 226 5671 / steven@lovethe88.com

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