As for my own experience I don't fall in the typical age group having turned 48 in November, but one morning I woke up with the right nut sore and swollen. I had played roller hockey the night before and figured that I must have taken a shot without noticing it at the time. I sort of get caught up in the game, and there are a lot of hits I don't feel until the next morning. By the next day I figured this was something to have checked so I went to see my family doctor.
He was out of town so I was seen by an associate who wasn't sure what the problem was. He took me next door for another opinion, and they decided I had an infection. I was given a prescription for a strong antibiotic to take for two weeks. It brought the swelling down in one day but left a hard spot in the center of the testicle. When I returned in two weeks they both looked at it with two interns and decided to try one more week with no success.
Now I was sent for a sonogram, which made my wife concerned that something was really wrong and things were going too slow. After a couple of days I was called back only to be referred to a urologist, which meant a few more days for my wife's anxiety to build. His immediate reaction was that I had a tumor which had to come out but he wanted to look at the actual sonogram instead of just the report. I was surprised how easy it was for everyone else to accept the fact that I had to have my testicle removed, but then why would they miss it.
I was scheduled for blood work, CT and chest X-ray within the next couple of days and surgery on Monday morning. The whole process had me on edge while I kept wondering why I had never heard of this type of cancer and why in the last 30 years hadn't one doctor ever suggested I do a self examination. Of course everyone was telling me I should be grateful that it was discovered early but that had not really sunk in yet.
The whole family came along to check me in for surgery and with my kids the activity level really picked up in the waiting room. Then there was the visit by the anesthesiologist who informs you that your body my not like what he is doing and I may not wake up but not to worry the chances of that are very remote. What he didn't tell me was that a tube would be placed in my throat and when I come to that it would be sore and I would be fighting the urge to cough. Not that the coughing alone was a problem but the wound in my stomach lit up like a torch every time I coughed. Needless to say I missed my game on Thursday, in fact I missed a couple, however by the third week I was back on my skates and play with a little less aggression.
Steve's description of radiation therapy was pretty close to mine with a couple of different statistics. I was told that the surgery alone gave me a 75% cure rate and the radiation would raise it to 95% with the outside chance that the radiation could cause damage to the intestines which would require surgery to repair and a remote chance that the radiation could trigger some other cancer. I don't recall the level but I received 16 treatments front and back at about 30 seconds a shot. The nausea bothered me for about a week and the diarrhea for about two weeks but I never felt fatigued.
It has been almost two weeks since my last radiation treatment and I'm feeling pretty good. While I would never volunteer for this I am grateful, Thank God, that it was caught early and it responds well to treatment.