**The following post is a part of our blog series that we will do each month as a part of our cancer observance mission information. These courageous cancer survivors are sharing their story…..the good, the bad and sometimes the ugly. But the great news, thanks to the work of the American Cancer Society, they are with us today and we hope these stories provide inspiration to all who read them.
“And once it’s out, you don’t put it back, right?”
By Kyle DeLeon, Staff Partner, American Cancer Society
Losing my left testicle to cancer in 2018 rocked me to my core, but I gotta tell you- it’s good to be here.
Before cancer, I maintained a healthy diet and active lifestyle, but I suppose there’s only so much you
can do. Two days before my 29 th birthday, I noticed a small lump on the underside of my left testicle. At
first, doctors assumed it was a bacterial infection, but the lump (and my testicle) continued to grow. My
paternal grandfather died of the same cancer, so I knew to be vigilant, and I quickly sought medical care
as soon as I noticed the lump.
My story was complicated by the fact that I’d previously lost my health insurance from losing my job. It
took a bit of time (and paperwork) to access quality care through my spouse’s insurance plan. By the
time I got my official diagnosis on that fateful Tuesday, my cancer advanced to stage II. On the summer
solstice two days later, my left testicle was removed from an incision in my lower abdomen. The longest
day in so many ways.
After surgery and 9 weeks of a rigorous chemotherapy regimen, I was declared cancer-free in October
2018. During treatment, I joined the operations of Beto O’Rourke’s 2018 senate campaign, getting my
first exposure to grassroots organizing for a cause that means the world to me:
Quality healthcare for all. No matter what.
In early 2019, I found a posting on the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network jobs site for
Texas Grassroots Manager. Grassroots organizing to fight cancer? It seemed too good to be true.
But it’s true! This mission has been a source of much needed energy and healing in my life. That role was
an incredible opportunity to use my story to push some big changes forward. Changes like increased
funding for research and screening. Changes like new laws to expand access to life-saving screening
procedures. Changes that we all deserve.
We deserve more. That’s why I’m so proud to continue this work as an advocate for cancer patients in
my new role on the national team at ACS CAN. I’m glad to be here, and I owe my life to early detection
and quality cancer care. Something we all deserve.