A check-up today keeps the doctor away
From Spotlight on Health May/June 2008
22-year-old: Cancer doesn’t equal death
In spring 2004, Nick Warren graduated from
Sartell High School and was just weeks away
from fulfilling his dream -- joining the U.S.
Air Force. Shortly before he was to be sworn
in, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer.
His plans were put on hold.
His symptoms started as a dull pain in his right testicle that became more and more uncomfortable. He noticed one testicle was
larger and more tender than the other.
“I felt like I’d been kicked there,” Warren said. “I knew something was wrong so I made a
doctor’s appointment. I went alone because I
was too embarrassed to tell my parents.”
Warren saw Douglas Brew, M.D., CentraCare
Clinic - Heartland, his primary physician
since childhood. Brew examined Warren
and sent him immediately to St. Cloud
Hospital for an ultrasound. He had the results
in three hours.
It looked like cancer.
“I couldn’t believe this was happening,”
Warren said. “I wanted to do this myself, but
when I realized how serious it was, I wished
I’d brought my mom.”
The next day, Warren saw urologist Gregory
Parries, M.D., Adult & Pediatric Urology,
who told Warren he could perform surgery
In a 45-minute outpatient procedure,
Warren’s right testicle was removed.
After surgery, Warren became a patient of
Medical Oncologist Hani Al-Khatib, M.D.,
Coborn Cancer Center. His treatment
included two cycles of chemotherapy.
“Testicular cancer has one of the highest cure rates of all cancers; higher than 90 percent,”
Al-Khatib said. If the patient has been
cancer-free for two years, we consider him
cured. We check every year from then on.”
Warren was declared cancer-free Oct. 26,
2006. He is a typical 22-year-old who attends
St. Cloud Technical College and is majoring
“My advice to others would be to make sure
to check yourself routinely, and don’t be
embarrassed if you find something,” Warren
said. “Make sure you let someone know and
get to a doctor as soon as possible. Having
cancer does not equal death.”
Compared with other types of
cancer, testicular cancer is rare.
Yet it is the most common cancer
in American males between the
ages of 15 and 34. In the United
States, from 8,000 to 9,000 cases
are diagnosed each year. Because
early detection is critical, experts
recommend monthly testicular
self-examination after a hot
shower or bath, when the
scrotum is looser. Men should
examine each testicle, feeling for