One January evening I noticed something odd and hard in one of my balls.
But, it didn’t worry me. I thought nothing of it. I thought it would just go away with time – like most things do. But it didn’t. However, I came to the medical assessment that is was cyst. Again, it will go away with time. I was 23, playing Australian rules football, just moved out of home and was loving hanging out with my mates. I certainly did not have time for any medical worries or seeing my doctor.
Later, one evening, a lady friend also noticed it. She mentioned it might be a good idea to get it checked. I said I would get it check – but later.
A month past and this odd, hard irregularity, hadn’t gone away.
Now I was concerned. I spoke to one of my mates. My mate told me to get it checked – people seemed obsessed with this idea. I said I would, but of course I didn’t. I waited a little longer. At this point, I started to get pain in my abdominal region. Nevertheless, I put it down to the impressive number of sit-ups I was doing at the gym.
One morning I woke up and my nut was the size of an orange!
I raced down to talk to my dad, he said, “mate, get that checked. Now!”. Time to get it checked! The hard irregularity was a tumor, a big black mass that had engulfed my testicle. I had to have the testicle removed and went through radiotherapy.
My doctors – yep, in plural – tried to comfort me. They told me
If you get cancer, this is the cancer you want to get.
Referring to it as a good cancer. There is no good cancer. A mate of mine, told me, it was lucky, it was me who got it, because I was so strong – whatever that means.
I went through months of hell, lost my identity, self-esteem and questioned myself in every way possible.
I sat on the radiotherapy table, not the doctors nor my mates.
I tried to go back and play football four weeks after my last radiotherapy session. That was a huge mistake. I was not emotionally or physically ready for football. Or anything else for that matter. I tried to find myself, convince people I was the old Stuey, but I’d lost myself. It took over 18 months to find myself again, but I did.
Testicular cancer is still a f***ing cancer. It is not “the good cancer”. There is no good cancer. That is what I’m here to change.
This bloke was me, Stuey, and I want lads to touch their balls, to understand what they’re looking for, so that if you find those small irregularities, you go to the doctor to get it checked!
Put your Hands In Your Pants.
That’s why I started an NGO, with two mates, called Hands In Your Pants, so we do put our hands in our pants, check for irregularities and act upon them.
Stuart Ross was born in Australia and is currently working in Denmark as a teacher. Stuart had testicular cancer twice. In 2007 at the age of 23 and again in 2017 at the age of 34. After going through treatment for the second time, he teamed up with two friends and started Hands In Your Pants, to spread testicular cancer awareness, make men take their balls seriously as well as creating a community around people affected by testicular cancer.