Testicular cancer series: CTV's Scott Miller speaks with survivors
Published Wednesday, March 26, 2014 4:08PM EDT
With so few men diagnosed each year testicular cancer patients in Canada can easily feel isolated and alone, but Scott Miller has found a group of fellow survivors to share stories with.
With only 900 to 1,000 new patients each year it's not easy to find other men who share the common bond of surviving testicular cancer.
Jeremy Allin, a Goderich resident, found his lump just days after Scott and was diagnosed in May 2013.
'I think everybody kind of thinks, 'This can't happen to me.' It's just one of those things, it's such a longshot. Frankly, it would have been an easy thing to ignore for a period of time. There really was no pain or discomfort associated with my lump."
Scott's 'unofficial' support group also includes Craig Leis, someone he went to high school and played hockey with, and Steve Jackson, a friend from Wingham.
Jackson really emotionally helped Scott through his entire diagnosis and recovery, but he's had his own struggles with the constant fear of reccurence since his diagnosis in December 2011, enduring 13 chest x-rays and four CT scans in the past two years alone.
"The person it was probably hardest on was my 10-year-old daughter. Where it was, I think, hard for them to to process what's going on. In school they only really hear the bad news scenarios," Jackson says.
Leis, who is from Stratford, actually found a lump back in 2006, but it was determined to be a calcium deposit. He kept an eye out and when he found a lump again in April 2012 he acted, asking for another ultrasound. It confirmed that this lump was cancerous. He's now almost two years cancer free.
"I was very open with co-workers, friends, with what was going on. That helped, to talk about it," Leis explains.
But 17-year-old Nick Greeson had no one but his parents to tell. His cancer had spread from his testicle by the time it was found in December 2012. Since then the London native has undergone three rounds of chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant and risky lymphoma removal surgery.
Matthew Greeson, Nick's father, explains "On the last appointment before surgery, they just said Nick you better, sort of, over the next weeks before surgery, just go do the things in your life that you want to do because you know, you might not have other opportunities. It could just be game over."
The last ditch effort worked, and music-loving Nick is cautiously cancer-free right now. His mother, Tanja Zientara, still wonders what difference early education may have had.
"There is nothing in our high school's health curriculum - as far as I know - about testicular cancer. So young boys aren't even aware of this. We consider ourselves fairly educated people, no experts by any means, but we didn't know about it. It was a shock to us."
Now 18, Nick's message to his fellow teenagers who find a lump or notice a difference in their testicles is simple, "Go get it checked right away because it's really not worth going through all that hell."
Coming up in part three: A mother who lost her son fights to save other boys from the same fate and a testicular cancer survivor takes his message to the streets.