Testicular cancer – ‘My story is positive because of my reaction’

Men often don’t know how to recognise the signs of testicular cancer, according to one patient who is very glad he did.

For Tipperary man Pa Heenan, the speed of his own actions along with that of his doctors saw him get the help he needed before it was too late.

“I found a lump on my testicle in early December. The next day I went to my GP, the day after that I was in Galway with the diagnosis and two days later I had surgery to remove the tumour. The speed at which someone reacts when they find a lump can often determine the story they’ll tell and my story is definitely a positive one because of my reaction,” says the 30-year-old teacher.

Following surgery, scan results revealed that Pa’s cancer had spread to lymph nodes in his lower abdomen, meaning he would require follow-up chemotherapy.

Pa built up a social media following by documenting his experiences of going through treatment, and he says sharing his journey proved a big help for both himself and hopefully others who may benefit from the insight.

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I think when cancer is close to home for people it’s a huge wake-up call.

“I’ve had so many messages from lads who never realised how common testicular cancer is, and how to react when you find a lump. I felt fulfilled that I was spreading awareness on what to do.

“We always think worst case scenario, but even if it is cancer and having to go through chemo, there’s a high chance that it’s still manageable and that you’re still going to be ok.


“Daffodil Day was a real eye-opener for me for what the Society does. It’s brilliant to have that facility through the Support Line to have a chat and get advice on how to recover mentally and physically from a diagnosis,” Pa says.

He adds that the greatest mistake people can make is not making the time to look after themselves:

“It’s all to do with time for many people; the time it takes to get it seen to. But the other side of it is the time you save for yourself with the treatment, the time you get back and that you’re rewarded with.

“The relief of being told you’re ok totally outweighs the worry of going to get checked in the first place, whether that be for screening or going to the doctor.”

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, Cancer Nurseline

For more information

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