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Medical Doctor Diagnosed with Testicular Cancer during Lockdown Shares Story

Michele Vanzaghi

Michele Vanzaghi (26), is a medical doctor who was diagnosed with testicular cancer during lockdown. He shares his story:

What is your current cancer diagnosis?

Testicular Cancer (Non seminoma Mixed Germ Cell)

How long have you been living with that cancer?

8 months

How does living with cancer affect you in general in your day-to-day living?

Initially it had massive implications. I was unable to practice medicine in hospital as I was immune compromised and ran the risk of major infection. Now in complete remission I am very healthy physically, the biggest burden comes in the form of emotional stress of follow up scans and blood tests. There are also social issues that surround cancer that make living with it challenging at times.

Is there a family history of cancer?

Absolutely not

How have you or your loved ones been affected by you living with cancer?

My mother is my best friend and for her to see me suffer was very difficult, we have however been lucky to not be affected financially.

How has having cancer affected you during this time of COVID-19?

My immune system was compromised and I was terrified of what might happen were I to contract the virus. My lockdown was extremely tight and vigilent.

What is your message to our government regarding the prevention, management and treatment of cancer?

I think that there needs to be emphaisis on early detection and screening rather than management, through awareness campaigns and education. This saved my life and I would like to help save the lives of many other young men with what I learnt.

What is your message to other people living with cancer?

Live every second. Don’t indulge in the future or regret the past.

Is pain a daily part of your life and how do you manage it?

No. I used to have back pain, but with lots of focus on meditation and yoga I have become pain free.

How has CANSA supported you in your diagnosis?

The initiative is incredible in creating awareness and reducing stigma around disease. I feel like part of a community, a family of support.

Do you have a question?
Book a counselling session

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