How Not to Deal With a Lump in Your Testicles

The following is a bit embarrassing but I feel it is important to share in case other men find themselves in the same position. Last week I found a lump in my left testicle; I came across it by pure accident. There was no pain as such but once I found this lump it was impossible to ignore it. I automatically assumed the worst but began scouring the internet for evidence that this wasn’t testicular cancer. I felt afraid but the idea of going to the hospital scared me even more -terrified of what they might say.

I Should Know Better

I qualified as a nurse and have no problem lecturing other people about what they should do if they develop any unusual symptoms. In western countries health organizations have spent a lot money educating men about the symptoms of testicular cancer and the importance of seeking a prompt assessment. Despite all this my impulse was to self-diagnose using Google – only looking for information that backed what I wanted to believe. I am well aware that a lot of the information on the web is inaccurate but I was prepared to accept almost any source that offered reassurance.

The last week has been difficult. Sleep has been hard to come by as my imagination has run wild. I have been reinterpreting other recent symptoms as evidence of metastasis; maybe those innocent cherry angiomas that appeared a few weeks ago are evidence that I’m riddled with cancer. The possibility of dying was one thing but my main concern was how my wife and son would cope. Where would I get the money if I needed expensive treatments? All this worry has been making life difficult – I also realised that my behavior was just plain stupid. Today I did what I should have done a week ago – I went to see a doctor.

It didn’t take the doctor long to diagnose the lump in my testicles. It isn’t testicular cancer but instead just spermatocele which is usually fairly harmless. I automatically felt a huge weight lift off my shoulders. I arrived at the hospital like a man facing the gallows but left with a new spring in my step. During the check-up it was noted that my blood pressure was a bit high, but this is probably to be expected from all the worry.

The Lesson Learnt From My Experience

I spent the last week full of worry for no reason; I could have been spared this by just going to the doctor earlier. Even if it had been bad news there was no way that ignoring things was going to make the news any better. Lance Armstrong ignored the lump in his testicles and nearly died because of it; he did have testicular cancer and it spread to his lungs because he waited. My advice to other people is do as I say and not as I did – get any lumps checked out right away.

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10 thoughts on “How Not to Deal With a Lump in Your Testicles

  1. Paul, I had something very similar happen about ten years ago, I too ignored it until one day it swelled up and caused massive pain. All manner of things went through my mind and I thought the doctor would tell me the worst. It turned out to be a cyst luckily.

    I don’t know why it is we would ignore these things but it seems most of us do. After that incident I will never ignore anything like it again. As you said spending a week or more worrying about the unknown is bad enough but if it turns out to be what you fear the lost time could mean death.

  2. Thanks for sharing that story. I had a very similar (and also embarrassing) experience years ago, when I had thought I might have acquired HIV after having a sexual encounter with someone I barely knew.

    It was somewhat of a classic situation of “information induced paranoia” combined with my own tendency to latch onto recurring and negative thoughts. I had read a book which had stated that in some individuals, there are clear signs of HIV infection that begin to manifest shortly after infection, such as a bad flu, swollen lymph nodes, or other eye/nose/throat illnesses. Within about a week of my sexual encounter, I came down with a fever, an eye infection, as well as a pretty sore throat.

    Needless to say, I was worried to death. I couldn’t sleep at night, and had recurring thoughts that I was going to die of HIV/AIDS. After a few weeks of torment, which was completely fueled by me reading and re-reading portions of that book and other works on HIV, I finally went in for a test. Thank God it turned out negative, and it turned out that I just happened to have a throat and eye infection.

    In some ways, I am *sort of* glad that I had that experience because it scared me near to death, and ever since then I completely changed my sexual behavior to be much more responsible.

    The other good thing is that I can also point to this episode and acknowledge it as a time in which I really let one of my weaknesses – a tendency to play and replay negative thoughts in my mind – get a hold of me completely. Although I still have this problem, by knowing I have it as a weakness, I can at least take positive steps to try and address and deal with it. I think for those of us who deal or have dealt with depression and alcoholism, its a common trait.

    Thanks again for sharing this story Paul. Its definitely something others can relate to. And glad to hear you are OK!

    1. Thanks Tan, you make some really valid points in your post. I think that there are parts of our personality that we are just stuck with; although we can learn to manage them a lot better. I too tend to worry about things – you might be right about this been a shared trait among addicts. I think knowing the way our minds work is great power; we might not always be able to change our less desirable traits but they can have less control over us. I felt a little disappointed with myself in the way I handled this health scare – it shook me a lot more than I would have expected.

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