A penile cut a Florida man initially assumed resulted from sex turned out to be something far more deadly: a rare form of cancer.
Wayne Martin, 31, is thought to be one of the youngest people in the world to be diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer.
“It started out like it was torn skin from rough activity, and I just treated it with some antibacterial cream and didn't think anything of it until it started to grow,” he said.
Adding insult to injury, Martin was unemployed at the time he received his diagnosis. Now he is trying to raise money to pay back his father, who was forced to pay for much of his son's medical bills.
Having no other choice, Martin was forced to undergo a partial penectomy, procedure that involves cutting off a part of the penis. He is now unable to have penetrative sex.
“Mentally, I have slowly come to terms with the fact that it is just a battle scar in this journey that we call life, but in the beginning I was very depressed and moody,” Martin said. “I didn't want to be near anyone, and when I was I would break down in tears because of everything.
Although he admits he is gay, he says the hardest part is knowing he will never be able to have his own biological children.
“I am an only child and mother passed away when I was 17, so I had always wanted to do what it took to give my father a grandchild - but now I can't. This still eats at me daily if I'm being honest,” he said.
Martin also adds his illness has affected his love life.
“I find myself wondering if I will ever find a partner in life,” he said. “It seems that in the gay culture, all people care about these days is how skinny or muscular you are and how big your Johnson is. So needless to say, when I tell people my story, nine times out of 10, I never hear back from the guy because he isn't willing to be with someone who has gone through what I have.”
The Skin Cancer Foundation provides a step-by-step self-examination people can perform to detect cancer in its early stages. They recommend everybody practices it monthly, adding that the earlier abnormalities are detected, the higher the likelihood it can be cured.