A teenage boy has described the strange moment he was diagnosed with testicular cancer using a pregnancy test. Byron Geldard, came home from a lads’ holiday in Kavos last August, with a niggling pain in his side that became too hard to ignore.
Now, after surgery and intensive chemotherapy, he is in remission – and has become an ambassador for Teenage Cancer Trust.
After visiting his doctor, who could feel a mass in his abdomen, he was referred to his local hospital for an ultrasound.
Byron, from Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, said: “Before I went to Kavos I’d been getting this weird pain on and off, but I didn’t think much of it.
“I went to the GP about it, but because I was going to the gym it was just put down to muscle pain.
“But when I was referred to the local hospital scans showed that I had a tumor that was spreading into my lungs.
“I was told that it was cancer – but they weren’t sure what type – and that I would probably need chemotherapy.”
Byron was referred to the Teenage Cancer Trust unit in Cambridge, who tried to determine what type of cancer Byron was suffering from.
It was there, that Byron was asked to provide a sample for a pregnancy test, to determine if the tumor was producing the hormones linked to both pregnancy, and testicular cancer.
Pregnancy tests detect a hormone called beta human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) found in the blood and the urine which is produced by the developing placenta. According to experts beta HCG can also signal testicular cancer.
After getting a positive result from the pregnancy test, the 19-year-old was diagnosed with stage four testicular cancer – which had spread to his abdomen and lungs – just a day before his A-level results were released.
Byron said: “I gave the hospital a urine sample, the pregnancy test came back positive, and I started chemotherapy the day after I was diagnosed.
“I would go in for five days in a row and have the chemo constantly.
“It really took it out of me – my brain was muddled and I found it hard to concentrate on long films or books.
“Throughout my cycles of chemo the hospital would monitor the pregnancy hormone through blood tests.
“The hormone had been really, really high, but it was gradually declining which was great news, and the tumors in my lungs and abdomen were shrinking.”
In December, Byron had surgery to remove the growth in his abdomen, a testicle, and the lymphatic system behind his stomach.
In January 19, after the surgery test revealed Byron was now cancer free.
He said: “It was a really strange feeling to be told I was ok again – you’re just sort of expected to go back to normal, but my mindset has completely changed.
“Before all this happened you think your life is pretty much guaranteed until you’re about 85 but it gave me the realization of my own mortality – I sort of had an early midlife crisis.
“I’m going to go to uni in the future, and I just want to enjoy my life.
“I’m doing stand up comedy about testicular cancer, as I think people need to be educated about it more.
“It’s something a bit different, and a way to show that cancer doesn’t always have to be a death sentence.”
Throughout Byron’s cancer journey, he was supported by Teenage Cancer Trust, and now he’s raising money for them as an ambassador.
Despite it being a relatively rare form of cancer, it is one of the more treatable.