Man sits in barbers chair in barber shop
Michael CowmanImage by: Movember
Man sits in barbers chair in barber shop
20 October 2021

Michael on Testicular Cancer and the importance of checking yourself

2 minutes read time

I was 20 when I was diagnosed with testicular cancer. I was a student in second year in DCU. Cancer is not one of your major concerns at that age, I was far more likely to have been contemplating the extortionate price of cans than the importance of regularly checking your testicles for lumps and bumps…. just in case.

We’d been on a night out in Galway when someone hit me an ‘hilarious’ slap in the testicles. I ended up having to leave the club and go home. Noticing the next morning that something wasn’t right I went to my local GP who referred me to a specialist; scans and surgeries followed, to the point where I had the surreal moment of discussing with a surgeon whether I wanted a replacement testicle for cosmetic purposes as my own had to be removed! (Spoiler, I did.) I spent the summer in St. Vincent’s hospital going through chemo. It was 2010 and the soccer world cup was on. I spent that summer going in and out of hospital sharing a ward with men in their 50s and 60s, listening to the incessant noise of vuvuzelas as Spain won that World Cup and I lost my testicle. Chemo sessions passed, test results came back, as did my hair, and eventually I was given the ‘all clear.’

Now I’m 11 years on and I’m only starting to speak about it. Hopefully my little story might help someone else realise that it doesn’t matter how young you are: Don’t be afraid to check yourself, before you genuinely wreck yourself.....