You might be the first to notice something's off about his health. I was.

By Health
Updated: August 28, 2018

This story originally appeared on Health.com by Sarah Klein.

Jimmy and I were luxuriating in bed one lazy weekend morning in December 2012 when I blurted out: "Why is one ball bigger than the other?"

I know, sexy, right?

Yes, there are an infinite number of more tactful ways I could have gotten this point across. Or, you know, I could have just kept my mouth shut. But at the time, I thought little of posing such a brash question. Keeping my mouth shut isn't really my strong suit (something he thankfully already knew well by then), and I clearly didn't stop to consider that some guys are simply uncomfortable with a mention of the size of anything down there.

In my health journalist mind, I figured just as my breasts have been slightly different sizes since the beginning of their existence, there had to be similar subtleties among male organs, too. (Related: 6 Things Your Partner's Penis Can Tell You About His Health)

But unlike me and my intimate knowledge of my boobs, Jimmy was taken aback by my observation. He felt around south of the border for a bit before concluding it was probably no big deal-and we promptly got back to more exciting activities. But the moment stuck with him, and a few days later, when he noticed an unfamiliar sensation in his family jewels, he went to see his doctor.

After a number of tests, scans, and a second opinion over the course of that holiday season (and you thought your Decembers were stressful!), he was scheduled for surgery early in January 2013 to remove his left testicle. Lefty, as it is now somewhat affectionately called, underwent further testing, confirming doctors' hunches: Jimmy had stage 1 testicular cancer.

We weren't always so comfortable sharing this story publicly. Here's a 2016 Prevent Cancer Foundation article about us with our names changed.

People who have heard this story before are often quick to point out that had I not spoken up, Jimmy may not have been diagnosed until a later stage of the disease. I can't take any credit for his proactive, thorough, and level-headed approach to his own health, and I assure these folks that I'm not some kind of savior. Intimate partners are familiar with each other's bodies in all sorts of ways, and I'm certainly not the first woman to urge a man to take care of himself.

"It's often men's partners pushing them," agrees Michael A. Palese, MD, chair of urology at Mount Sinai Downtown-Union Square in New York City, who spoke with me recently about testicular cancer and wasn't involved in Jimmy's care. Testicular cancer is most common between ages 15 and 35, and it's young men in this age group who get a bad rap for things like skipping doctor visits, declining follow-up care, and neglecting nagging feelings that something might be wrong.

So why not take matters into-ahem-your own hands? There's no routine screening test recommended for testicular cancer, but you can familiarize yourself with your partner's testicles so you can more readily spot something abnormal. While testicular cancer is considered highly treatable, it's still easiest to take care of when detected early, Dr. Palese says.

Wondering what you're looking for? Every month or every few months, feel around together. Shower time is an optimal opportunity, says Dr. Palese: The warm water means his testicles hang a bit farther away from his body so you can get in there comfortably. "Gently roll the testicle between the thumb and one or two fingers, and feel for a symmetric, round structure," Dr. Palese instructs. You want everything to feel "homogenous," he says, with no lumps or bumps.

Make sure the left and the right are roughly the same size; if they're not, ask your guy if they've always been different. "Some men are born with one testicle larger than the other. That can be normal and doesn't mean there's something wrong," Dr. Palese says. It's worrisome, he adds, when the size disparity is a new development like it was for Jimmy. Other signs of testicular cancer you can't see or feel for include achiness or pain in his back, groin, belly, or scrotum; abdominal bloating; or a heavy feeling in his scrotum.

If you think you've found something, talk to your guy lovingly and supportively-then have him bring it up with his primary care doctor first, Dr. Palese says. The doctor can refer him to a urologist for more testing if necessary. If your partner is 15 to 35, has a family history of testicular cancer, was born with an undescended testicle (he'll know if he was, Dr. Palese says), and is white, he's more likely to have testicular cancer.

To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter

A urologist will likely do a testicular ultrasound and take blood to look for markers that a tumor is present. And if the two of you do end up hearing those dreaded words-"You have cancer"-treatment can include surgery, radiation therapy, and sometimes chemotherapy, Dr. Palese says. "Men often respond very nicely, even in dire situations with very late-stage cancers." (Related: Does Sugar Cause Cancer?)

Jimmy was deemed cancer-free after that January surgery, and he remained that way during the following five years of bloodwork, X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans-and the accompanying time, money, and anxiety spent awaiting and attending these appointments.

We supported a Stand Up 2 Cancer initiative with this hopeful tweet in 2016.

A lot has changed in the five years since his diagnosis. For starters, we're no longer embarrassed to tell this story ("Congrats to us on the sex!" Jimmy says). We're getting married in October. He no longer needs extensive workups every few months, and we're frequently extolling the virtues of knowing each other's bodies. But most importantly, his risk of the cancer coming back has dropped significantly-to only slightly higher than the risk of any average man coming down with it a first time.

Advertisement


Comments (8)

Anonymous
March 24, 2019
Testimony on a spell caster who brought ex back to me. I almost took my life because of my ex left me and stop picking my calls or reply my text messages. He told me that he don’t trust me anymore because I work very late at night. I tried to convince him, but he will not believe me until we had a fight and broke up for 4 months, after then I realize I can’t live without him because of the love I have for him. I tried everything possible to get him back, but non worked for me until I came across this man called Dr Paul on a blog, he cast a spell for me and behold my ex came back after two days begging me for forgiveness, I was so surprised that spell work. If anyone here needs some help, with all sincerity, contact Dr Paul via; astoriashrine@gmail.com directly on whasapp +2349051441669
Anonymous
February 7, 2019
This is the website I read about Doctor Paul and contacted him to help me get my ex boyfriend back to marry me during the month of May this year and I have come back here to post about him. Doctor Paul will help you solve your problem no matter what you are going through. My name is sabreen from USA. Posting about a spell caster is very strange to me because I never believed i will be able to say that I was helped by a spell caster in bringing my ex boyfriend back to me after 3 years of no contact. I read about Doctor Paul from other websites and contacted him to help me and in less than 48 hours my ex boyfriend called me and I was happy that he wants to get back to me. We met on Friday and he proposed to me,... It was the most beautiful ring. Please everyone out here, Contact Doctor Paul to solve your problem for you and make you happy with your relationship that is hurting you. Love is the best feeling ever experienced. Email him at astoriashrine@ gmail com or directly on whats App him +2349051441669
Anonymous
February 7, 2019
This is the website I read about Doctor Paul and contacted him to help me get my ex boyfriend back to marry me during the month of May this year and I have come back here to post about him. Doctor Paul will help you solve your problem no matter what you are going through. My name is sabreen from USA. Posting about a spell caster is very strange to me because I never believed i will be able to say that I was helped by a spell caster in bringing my ex boyfriend back to me after 3 years of no contact. I read about Doctor Paul from other websites and contacted him to help me and in less than 48 hours my ex boyfriend called me and I was happy that he wants to get back to me. We met on Friday and he proposed to me,... It was the most beautiful ring. Please everyone out here, Contact Doctor Paul to solve your problem for you and make you happy with your relationship that is hurting you. Love is the best feeling ever experienced. Email him at astoriashrine@ gmail com or directly on whats App him +2349051441669
Anonymous
November 29, 2018
MY HUSBAND IS BACK WITH THE GREAT HELP OF DR SAM LOVE SPELL I'm so excited my broken Marriage has been restored my ex husband is back after he left me and our 2kids for another woman. i was so happy to met Dr. Sam Blogs https://supremespellcast.blogspot.com how he help many people to bring there Lover back so i contact him to help me too. that was how Dr. Sam help me to bring my husband back.. A big thank to you Dr. Sam because I never thought my ex Husband will be back to me so quickly with your spell. You are the best and world greatest. if you are here and you need your Ex Lover back or your husband moved to another woman, do not cry anymore, contact this powerful spell caster now. Here’s his contact: Email him at: supremespellcast@gmail.com Or supremespellcast@yahoo.com You can also Call/WhatsApp:+2347087462033 You can also visit his website: http://supremespellcast.website2.me
Anonymous
August 18, 2018
Save Your Relationship and Get Your Ex Boyfriend/Girlfriend Back!contact: Unityspelltemple@gmail.com is certainly the best spell caster online and his result is 100% guarantee. My Name Olivia Stephen form Tx,USA. After 12years of marriage, me and my husband has been into one quarrel or the other until he finally left me and moved to California to be with another woman. I felt my life was over and my kids thought they would never see their father again. i tried to be strong just for the kids but i could not control the pains that torments my heart, my heart was filled with sorrows and pains because i was really in love with my husband. Every day and night i think of him and always wish he would come back to me, I was really upset and i needed help, so i searched for help online and I came across a website that suggested that Dr Unity can help get ex back fast. So, I felt I should give him a try. I contacted him and he told me what to do and i did it then he did a Love spell for me. 28 hours later, my husband really called me and told me that he miss me and the kids so much, So Amazing!! So that was how he came back that same day,with lots of love and joy,and he apologized for his mistake,and for the pain he caused me and the kids. Then from that day,our Marriage was now stronger than how it were before, All thanks to Dr Unity. he is so powerful and i decided to share my story on the internet that Dr.Unity real and powerful spell caster who i will always pray to live long to help his children in the time of trouble, if you are here and you need Love-spell to Win your Man Back from Another Woman or Win your Boyfriend/girlfriend back forever. Do not cry anymore, contact this powerful spell caster now. Here’s his contact Call/WhatsApp: +2348071622464 , Email: Unityspelltemple@gmail.com , blogsite:https://unityspelltmple.blogspot.com . Website:https://unityspelltempleblog.wordpress.com
Anonymous
August 18, 2018
Save Your Relationship and Get Your Ex Boyfriend/Girlfriend Back!contact: Unityspelltemple@gmail.com is certainly the best spell caster online and his result is 100% guarantee. My Name Olivia Stephen form Tx,USA. After 12years of marriage, me and my husband has been into one quarrel or the other until he finally left me and moved to California to be with another woman. I felt my life was over and my kids thought they would never see their father again. i tried to be strong just for the kids but i could not control the pains that torments my heart, my heart was filled with sorrows and pains because i was really in love with my husband. Every day and night i think of him and always wish he would come back to me, I was really upset and i needed help, so i searched for help online and I came across a website that suggested that Dr Unity can help get ex back fast. So, I felt I should give him a try. I contacted him and he told me what to do and i did it then he did a Love spell for me. 28 hours later, my husband really called me and told me that he miss me and the kids so much, So Amazing!! So that was how he came back that same day,with lots of love and joy,and he apologized for his mistake,and for the pain he caused me and the kids. Then from that day,our Marriage was now stronger than how it were before, All thanks to Dr Unity. he is so powerful and i decided to share my story on the internet that Dr.Unity real and powerful spell caster who i will always pray to live long to help his children in the time of trouble, if you are here and you need spell to Win your Man Back from Another Woman or Win your Boyfriend/girlfriend back forever. Do not cry anymore, contact this powerful spell caster now. Here’s his contact Call/WhatsApp: +2348071622464 , Email: Unityspelltemple@gmail.com , blogsite:https://unityspelltmple.blogspot.com . Website:https://unityspelltempleblog.wordpress.com
Anonymous
August 9, 2018
Hello my name is Kallya from USA i want to tell the world about the great and mighty spell caster called Priest Ade my husband was cheating on me and no longer committed to me and our kids when i asked him what the problem was he told me he has fell out of love for me and wanted a divorce i was so heart broken i cried all day and night but he left home i was looking for something online when i saw an article how the great and powerful Priest Ade have helped so many in similar situation like mine he email address was there so i sent him an email telling him about my problem he told me he shall return back to me within 24hrs i did everything he asked me to do the nest day to my greatest surprise my husband came back home and was crying and begging for me to forgive and accept him back he can also help you contactancientspiritspellcast@yahoo.com or ancientspiritspellcast@gmail.com Blogs: https://kallya1.blogspot.com Website http://ancientspiritspellcast.website2.me WhatsApp +2347059715465
Anonymous
May 12, 2018
I NEED MY EX BACK DESPERATELY EMAIL DR. TRUST THROUGH HIS WEBSITE FOR URGENT AND FAST HELP: http://utimatespellcast.blogspot.com.ng/ HI AM Sharon Poore Sidwell!! from Australia. with this great tears of joy and happiness in my heart today I want to give an unlimited thanks to this man Called Dr. Trust. I am happy today because my husband is now back with full of love, My husband left me for another woman,just because we had a little misunderstanding. he left me and promise he will never come back to me again. i cry all day looking for a genuine spell caster to help me bring him back. Then i saw a testimony share on the internet by miss Karen. i email him and tell him my problems with my ex husband, and he promise to bring him back home within 2 days. indeed he is wonderful he help me to get my husband back within 2days which he promise and my husband return to me and promise to love me forever and beg me for the pain he caused me. I will forever be grateful to you Dr Trust and i will not stop to publish your name on the internet for people to see how truthful you are. And I want to say to everyone on this site that I will always remain thankful to this man Dr. Trust for all he has done for me,My husband is back with love,caring,truthful and he promise to love me forever.I have made a promise that every body I know will never have a relationship problem, via email (Ultimatespellcast@gmail.com or Ultimatespellcast@yahoo.com call him +2348156885231)