An 18-year-old male from the United Kingdom said he was given a pregnancy test to determine whether or not he had testicular cancer.
“They didn’t know what type of cancer I had,” said Byron. “I could have had four or five different types. The doctor kept saying things but it wasn’t really going in,” he said. “I left the room and fainted – I think it was the fear of the unknown,” according to The Telegraph.
Byron Geldard of Cambridgeshire, England, took the test because testicular cancer produces hCG, the same hormone produced when a female body is developing a placenta.
“‘It was all very surreal to be honest,” he told Caters News Agency. “There I was with a positive pregnancy test and something growing inside me. I thought I was going to end up in a documentary.”
He then had seven months of various treatments, and he later went into remission.
He told the Telegraph: “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,” he said. “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,” he continued. “The hormone had been really, really high, but it was gradually declining which was great news, and the tumours in my lungs and abdomen were shrinking.”
Dr. Danish Mazhar, Consultant Medical Oncologist at Cambridge University Hospitals, told the Daily Mail that testicular cancer often—but not always—produces beta human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), found in the blood and the urine which is produced by the developing placenta.
“The pregnancy hormone is often (but not always) produced by testicular tumors,” he said.
“Where it is produced, it can used for diagnostic and monitoring purposes. In cases where the cancer has spread, the level of the HCG can be very high and if the clinical picture fits with a testicular cancer then a pregnancy test, which effectively is a test for HCG in the urine, can be used to make the diagnosis,” he explained.
Geldard initially went to a doctor after a nagging pain in his side became hard to ignore. Scans then showed he had a tumor spreading into his lungs, but doctors weren’t sure what type of cancer it was.
The comedian is now incorporating the ordeal into his routine, to help educate people.
“Cancer is no longer a death sentence, and I would like to spread that message,” he also told The Metro.
He came to a strange realization at the age of 18.
Geldard 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.”
“There is one quote that helped me through which was ‘Yesterday is history, tomorrow’s a mystery and today’s a gift,” he said. “It may be from Kung Fu Panda but it is how I feel.”