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Ask Rene: I’m Worried My Husband Has Cancer!


 Hi Rene:

I have an issue that is very sensitive and I am unsure of the best way to handle it. I recently noticed/felt what appears to be a pea-sized knot or bump/lump on the underside of one of my husband’s testicles. I’ve never noticed it before, (we’ve been married 12 years) but I’m worried that he should at least let his doctor check him out. As you can imagine, finding the words to tell him has been difficult because he is the type of man who is very reactionary about sensitive subjects such as this and I am afraid that this would really freak him out (not in a dangerous way). This could be serious and then again it may be nothing. In any case, I am definitely going to tell him, I just don’t know how. How should I handle this?? Please help

Sign me,

So Worried


Dear Worried:

Your love for this man is admirable; it literally jumps off the page. You are 100 percent right, he needs to see his doctor and fast. But I see your point about but not wanting to frighten him. Okay, so here’s what I would do if I were you.

CALL HIS DOCTOR: My husband and I have the same general practitioner so I have a relationship with him. I’m the one responsible for making appointments for our check-ups and have, in the past, spoken to him about my husband’s health. If you have the same arrangement, then you can call the doctor and have a conversation with him yourself. If you do not know his doctor, call anyway. He may be able to allay your fears a bit and give you a better handle on what’s going on. What he cannot do is issue a diagnosis over the phone and more than likely, will want to check that out himself. So before you get off the phone, make the appointment.

TELL YOUR HUSBAND: This is the tricky part and why you wrote to me in the first place. But you really can’t afford to sit on this information for too long because, if it is something serious, the earlier it is discovered and treated, the better the prognosis. So putting myself in your shoes, I would first learn as much as I could from reputable sources like your doctor or medical-affiliated websites. Then I would sit my husband down in a quiet moment and just tell him. There really isn’t any other way to do this except to just say it. Be gentle and convey compassion. Make sure he knows you’ve been studying up on this but more than anything, not to jump to conclusions.

THINGS TO REMEMBER: I know you’re worried but I want you to remember these things and tell your husband too.

*Don’t panic until you know. You’re going to need to remain calm so you can make good, sound decisions.

*Testicular cancer, like so many others, can usually be cured, when found early. But again, this lump could be anything, so don’t go to the dark place right away.

*Tell him you will be with him every step of the way. When my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, it brought out the reporter in me. I went to all the appointments with her, took notes, asked questions and really became her healthcare advocate. Assure your husband this is not a path he will travel alone.

You know that saying, it’s better to light a candle then to curse the darkness? Things always seem bigger and badder when you only know a portion of them. So be brave, I know you are, and flick on a light. Once you know what you are dealing with you can develop an appropriate strategy going forward.

Oh, and I would be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to tell my male GEMs, check yourself, bruh. You make us crazy at times, but we can’t imagine our lives without you.

Good luck! Do you have a question for Rene? She has an answer. Click here and fire away! And don’t forget to follow the conversation on Facebook and Rene on Twitter.

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  1. Dave M

    March 20, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    Worried –

    I am only chiming in because I’m not sensing if this is a lump your husband already knows about and is avoiding or if you noticed and you don’t know how to broach the subject.

    If it’s the former, and he’s avoiding the doctor, I’m giving you a line my father used on my Mom, later I did on my wife: this isn’t just about you. It could be nothing, but your actions now affect not just you but me, the kids, all of us. If it’s nothing, we’re all happy, but if it’s not, we all feel it. We are here to help you, but if you ignore it and it’s worse, we all feel it too.

    If it’s something he doesn’t know about yet, I can tell from the letter above you seem to have a healthy, loving relationship. You are obviously comfortable with each other and comfortable enough that you’ve explored each other – not in a salacious way, but you get my drift… I think he’d appreciate that both you love him enough and that you notice these changes in him that he’d be happy to hear that you both noticed and are concerned. Rene’s advice is dead-on. Just talk. Don’t panic, but deal with it together and you can accomplish anything!

  2. Karen Baitch Rosenberg

    March 20, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    Rene, I don’t understand the issue here. Worried, why not just tell him you’ve felt something different, and that he should get it checked out? We were sure that my husband had symptoms of colon cancer on his 50th birthday. Cancer runs in his family, so we cried all weekend, and his doctor, without seeing him, scheduled him for a colonoscopy. Turns out I’d used too much dye in his red velvet birthday cake and he was not bleeding, as we thought he was. (This is why I don’t cook.) Point is, Worried’s husband’s bump might be nothing. But why waste time debating whether or not to seek medical attention?

  3. Rene Syler

    March 20, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    @Karen: Well she said she was going to tell him but the issue was she didn’t want to freak him out. She knows she needs to tell him though, she was hoping there would be a way to do it without scaring him.

  4. m.e. johnson

    March 21, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    I must be different because the moment I felt something irregular I would have said, “What’s that?” Him: “What’s what?” Me: “This lumpy thing… feel it.” If it scared him, good. I wouldn’t have to rag on him to see the doc this time. If he did know it was there but was passing it off as “just a bruise or something, it’ll go away”, I WOULD rag on him to see the doc.

    How would Worried feel if she found out he had noticed a possibly dangerous abnormality on her and didn’t say anything?

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Combing the aisles at Target in search of the best deal on Cheerios, it hit Rene Syler like the stench of a dirty diaper on a hot summer’s day. Not only is perfection overrated its utterly impossible! Suddenly empowered, she figuratively donned her cape, scooped up another taco kit for dinner and Good Enough Mother was born.

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