My work means that I am constantly communicating with people around the world, and I find it fascinating the differences that there are from country to country. Today I am delighted to share a piece from my friends at Tommy John, a men’s underwear designer company based in New York, who are working with the Testicular Cancer Foundation to raise awareness of this cancer. This type of collaboration is becoming more common and in many ways is a good thing. However I am personally sceptical that we don’t get to the situation which we have with Breast Cancer, that it is more about selling products and promotion, than raising awareness and producing positive results.
Our world is changing rapidly, and in the cancer sector we need to be looking at all opportunities to get the word out there, but not by sacrificing our integrity and losing the focus of why these collaborations should exist. With my own charity, we are very selective when looking at partnering opportunities, as we don’t want to become just another vehicle for companies to promote more of their goods and services.
The below piece is yet another example of how a cancer can have incredible survival rates if detected early enough. This is a massive issue for many cancers that people feel embarrassed to talk about, even to their doctor! The facts are that men are worse than woman with this particular issue, so come on guys, let’s be more aware and get talking about these issues! Thank you Tommy John.
April is Testicular Cancer Awareness Month and we here at Tommy John have partnered up with the Testicular Cancer Foundation (TCF) to help spread awareness and clear up misinformation about this disease.
Testicular cancer; we know it’s not always the easiest thing for men to talk about. However, when compared to how treatable this type of cancer is (we’re talking about a 99% survival rate when detected early, guys), this is something that we all should be talking about freely and openly. Just exactly how often should we be talking about it? Well, for starters, men should have a conversation with themselves for about 60 seconds, once a month, every month. I’m talking about a self exam here, and it couldn’t be anymore simple to perform.
We recently had to the pleasure of sitting down with someone who knows these facts on a personal level. Scott Lazerson is a survivor of testicular cancer and I’m proud to be able to bring his story to the Community. Check out our quick Q&A with Scott below!
Tommy John: What first prompted you to go in and get checked out? Did you find something during a self exam?
Scott Lazerson: Just over 10 years ago I spent an entire summer feeling sick & visited my family doctor several times. My doctor never thought to check that this could be testicular cancer. About 3 months after my first doctor’s appointment I was doing a self-exam and could not believe the size my testicle had become and immediately called my friend David who was in medical school. David said I needed to go see a urologist immediately. The next day I went to my urology appointment & it was in the that moment I was told I most likely had testicular cancer.
TJ: What was your initial reaction when you found out you were diagnosed with TC? Did you know anything about the disease prior to your diagnosis?
Scott: My initial reaction was shock! My father had died of cancer years before and I had no idea what testicular cancer even meant.
TJ: Based on the stage you were diagnosed in, what were the recommended next steps? Are those the steps that you took?
Scott: I was diagnosed with stage 3 testicular cancer because the disease had spread to my liver. My oncologist suggested chemotherapy so immediately following my orchiectomy (surgery done for testicular cancer to remove the testicle) I began a 6 month chemotherapy treatment program.
TJ: How much did the treatment process affect your everyday life? As a survivor, does it still affect you today?
Scott: Today, I still can’t even believe I had cancer. It was a life defining experience. Facing your own mortality was quite transformative for me. I remember thinking, “if I live, I am going to LIVE and give life everything I possibly can!” It’s quite funny now, I rarely think of myself as a survivor of cancer, but more of a survivor of the life.
TJ: Did the doctors have advice regarding your underwear? Has your underwear changed styles since then?
Scott: Interestingly enough the doctors never spoke to me about my underwear. Today I am a big fan of any boxer briefs that have room!
TJ: What recommendations do you have for men starting and/or going through this process now?
Scott: My #1 recommendation for anyone facing cancer is positivity. Being positive is the biggest game-changer in life. The words of Yogananda were always on my mind, “When you came into this world you cried, whereas everyone else rejoiced. During your lifetime, work and serve in such a way that when it is your time to leave this world, you will smile at parting while the world cries for you.” Even during cancer you can be positive, uplifting & a bright spot in so many other’s lives.
I’d like to thank Scott again for taking the time to share his story with us. Now, you may be wondering what you can do to help out others like Scott. Firstly, you can start by sharing his story, along with some of the other tips and information shared in this article. Additionally, throughout the month of April, Tommy John is donating a portion of their special edition TCF boxer brief sales (you can find them here) to help fund cancer research and care.
Above all else, and to echo Scott’s own words, it’s important to stay positive. Whether you know someone who is currently going through the treatment process, or possibly you, yourself, have been diagnosed, positivity can be the most powerful aid.