Aidan Hunter

Cancer survivor Aidan – ‘If something isn’t right, don’t hang around: get it seen to.’

An 80ft plunge off a bridge provided the unlikely wake-up call for personal trainer Aidan Hunter that would eventually result in his first cancer diagnosis in 2017.

The 27-year-old from Donegal had been travelling around Europe with friend when he did the river dive that is popular with tourists: “We had jumped off the Mostar bridge in Bosnia & Herzegovina and when we hit the water my legs just buckled from underneath me and I split my shorts right around.

“I thought I had hurt myself doing that but as the trip went on I wasn’t recovering and things still weren’t right down there. I thought there was definitely something wrong.

“I came home from my travels on a Monday and went to my GP on the Tuesday. Within a week I was diagnosed with testicular cancer,” says Aidan.

He was soon undergoing surgery in Galway to remove the tumour. While his initial treatment worked well, he was told there was a 50-50 chance of the cancer returning within a year, with the odds of a recurrence decreasing as time went on.

Aidan had moved to Vienna for work in the meantime, but in 2019 a follow-up scan discovered further growths in his lung.

Hearing that the cancer had come back was always going to be incredibly difficult news to take, but Aidan is thankful that through his daily routine of gym, work and a lengthy cycle commute he happened to be in peak physical condition at the time, which helped him cope with whatever his condition and the necessary treatment would throw at him.

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In the hospital they tested my heart rate which they thought was very low.

"At first they thought it was due to medication, but it was actually just an indication that I was very fit, so that little boost of knowing that I was in good shape for what was to come helped me tremendously both mentally as well as physically for the toll it takes on your body.”


While lockdowns are tough at the best of times, Aidan is grateful for the support of those around him as he continues recovering from treatment.

“I had to say no to friends a lot, and they understood that, so I knew I had good people around me, and whenever I needed them they were there,” he says.

“My main message would be that if something isn’t right, don’t hang around. Go and get it seen to, and get it checked out no matter how small it is, because it’s not worth it otherwise; it could be nothing, but identifying the problem banishes away the ghosts and the demons of our imagination.

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Contact the Irish Cancer Society Support Line

If you have worries or concerns about cancer, you can speak confidentially to an Irish Cancer Society Cancer Nurse through the Freephone Support Line on 1800 200 700.

Monday to Friday, 9.00am - 5.00pm

Roz, a cancer nurse

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1800 200 700

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