Waging a battle against ‘The Big C’

PETALING JAYA: Brothers A. Surendra Ananth and A. Jeyakumar were leading normal lives, the former working as a lawyer here and the latter a student in the United Kingdom.

But in 2023, they were dealt a shock – both were diagnosed with testicular cancer within four months of each other.

Surendra, 34, said he started feeling pain in his stomach and lower back in March last year and brushed it away as “stomach issues”. He consulted a gastroenterologist over several months but no problem was detected.

Facing life head on: Surendra (left) and Jeyakumar.Facing life head on: Surendra (left) and Jeyakumar.

“The pain was dull and came on and off. It wasn’t so alarming to the point I needed to go to the hospital, which was why I just let it be,” he said.

Last July, he felt a sudden sharp pain in one of his testicles and rushed to the emergency department at a private hospital.

An ultrasound examination confirmed it was testicular cancer.

“It came as a shock at the time and I felt confused. By then, the cancer had already spread to lymph nodes in my chest and stomach,” Surendra recounted. He then underwent surgery to remove the affected testicle a few days later.

Shocked by his elder brother’s diagnosis, 28-year-old Jeyakumar, started performing self-checks in the United Kingdom before coming home in November.

“During one of my self-checks, I felt one of my testicles was swollen.

“When it did not go down after five days, I consulted the urologist who carried out my brother’s surgery,” Jeyakumar recalled.

While blood tests did not indicate any cancer, Jeyakumar said the doctor did not want to take any chances.

An orchiectomy (a procedure to remove one or both testicles) was quickly scheduled.

“After the surgery, a spot biopsy was conducted and a cancerous tumour was found,” he said.

This meant Jeyakumar had to forgo opportunities abroad and remain in Malaysia.

Despite the cancer, the duo stood strong in the face of adversity.

“It was shocking and we were confused for the first two weeks following the diagnoses, but we proceeded with the necessary medical steps and followed the doctors’ advice,” said Surendra.

With Surendra’s cancer at stage three and Jeyakumar’s at stage 1b, the brothers underwent four cycles and one cycle of chemotherapy respectively.

Surendra also went for a lymph node dissection in India late last year.

Both have since resumed their lives and professional commitments.

Surendra then decided to work with the US-based Testicular Cancer Foundation to increase testicular cancer awareness in Malaysia.

“We are looking to work with universities and hospitals. The more we speak about it, the more aware we become,” he said.

Jeyakumar, said testicular cancer should not be a taboo subject.

“Don’t take it for granted. Perform self-checks and go for yearly health check-ups,” said the human resources executive.

April is Testicular Cancer Awareness Month.

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