17 January 2017

In September 2013 I found an abnormality during a self-exam, and my wife encouraged me to go to the doctor.

Adam Shaw: Fighting testicular cancer
Real Stories
After finding an abnormality during a self-examination in September 2013, my wife encouraged me to go and see a doctor. The first doctor I saw told me that I was fine, but something still didn’t feel right. I followed my instincts and insisted on an ultrasound. After the ultrasound, another doctor and a specialist, I was diagnosed with testicular cancer, and quickly taken into surgery. 

My family rallied around me throughout the experience, offering nothing but love and support, but they were noticeably shocked. I was only 30 years old, fit and healthy with no prior medical conditions. It was a stark reminder to my family and friends that anyone can get cancer at any time.

Three years later, I still go back to the hospital regularly for check-ups, but I feel fitter and stronger than ever. It has definitely strengthened the relationships I have with my Dad and my two brothers to the point where we are having more in-depth conversations not only about physical health, but mental health as well. It brought my family and friends closer together, and created conversations that had never occurred before.

My experience reinforced in my mind how quickly life can change, and I’m more determined than ever to never take a day for granted. I’ve just enjoyed my second year of marriage, travelled extensively, run my first marathon, have had a major career change and realised my dream of becoming a firefighter before welcoming a new baby into our family in November 2016.

There’s a favourite quote of mine: “He who hesitates is lost.” This never rings truer than for mental or physical health problems. I truly believe that it is best to take action on your health sooner rather than later. I know it’s tough, but the quicker a problem is recognised, the sooner it can be addressed and fixed before it develops into something bigger.

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