Phil stands on top of a mountain with a majestic blue lake behind him. He wears winter clothes for the mountain conditions.
Phil ran a full marathon two months prior to diagnosis Image by: Phil Bures
Phil stands on top of a mountain with a majestic blue lake behind him. He wears winter clothes for the mountain conditions.
5 October 2023

Marathon to Movember: Phil's Testicular Cancer Story

Nuts & Bolts guide
Phil Bures
3 minutes read time

Health and fitness have always been a big part of my life. Growing up, and in my 20's, I enjoyed the rigours of exercise whilst maintaining a busy job and social life. I liked having a fast-paced lifestyle. I even ran a full marathon two months prior to diagnosis, with no idea I ran all that distance with cancer in my system.

Two months after the marathon, I felt some swelling down there. I thought it might have been from the run, or maybe a cyst. I didn't have a regular GP since I was living in Canberra at the time.

" To my detriment, I put off seeing a GP for a while because I felt a bit awkward. "

Being 27 years old at the time, I always thought cancer was something I'd deal with later in life, like prostate cancer, liver cancer, bowel cancer, that kind of thing. I looked after myself physically and had no idea that testicular cancer usually effected younger men.

I got the news delivered to me on the Tuesday by a GP. Saw the urologist later that week on the Friday and booked into surgery on the following Friday. It was a ten-day period from whoa to go. It was a whirlwind. The operation to remove the tumour was routine and successful and I was out of hospital the next day.

Following this my Oncologist had me on a treatment plan for three months. Blood tests, scans, treatments with post treatment surgery as well. I was determined to tackle it head on. "Let's do this, let's kill it." I did everything in my power to get through it. The medical team said I was flying through it, which was good. It took me about a month after chemo to get back and active again doing light exercises.

After treatment it hit me. Jesus Christ, what did I just go through? It was a bit of a mental process to digest it all. Why did I go through all that when I wasn't physically feeling pain? It took a lot of mental energy to get back to where I was before. It took a while to feel confident in myself again. I could sense people were a bit apprehensive to ask me how I was going - they didn’t know how I'd react. I did notice it, and it made me a bit self-conscious.

I'm a social guy and that's part of why I reached out to Movember when I got diagnosed. It was better for me to talk to someone who's already walked the journey. Speaking to another person who went through it and got out the other side gave me reassurance. Having a group in hospital would have been helpful as the experience can be quite isolating.

Just being able to speak to younger guys and knowing that having cancer isn't your life now is a real confidence boost.

My first piece of advice is this: get checked regularly. Make an appointment, get it fixed. My next piece is don't suffer in silence. There are men out there willing to give you help and guide you through it.