A teenager was diagnosed with testicular cancer after doctors recommended he take a pregnancy test, the Independent reports.
Byron Geldard, who was 18 at the time, had just finished school and was waiting to get the results of his A’ Level tests.
With his entire future ahead of him, Geldard was about to receive to some very unnerving news.
“It was all very surreal to be honest,” Gerald told the Irish Independent. “There I was with a positive pregnancy test and something growing inside of me.
“I thought I was going to end up in a documentary.”
Geldard had gone to the hospital shortly after finishing his exams. He complained that he had a pain in his side, but doctors told him it was just “muscle soreness” caused by exercising.
He went back to the hospital in August, and doctors found a lump in his side. They immediately took an ultrasound, which revealed that Geldard had a tumor that had spread to his lungs.
The teen was told he had cancer, but doctors weren’t sure which type.
“They didn't know what type of cancer I had,” Geldard explained. “I could have had four or five different types.
“The doctor kept saying things, but it wasn’t really going in. I left the room and fainted - I think it was the fear of the unknown.”
Geldard was transferred to the Teenage Cancer Trust unit in Cambridge, where an unusual request was made: a sample for a pregnancy test.
To make things even more bizarre, the test came back positive.
According to a Teenage Cancer Trust spokeswoman, a pregnancy test can be used to diagnose - or rule out - testicular cancer. This is possible because the illness produces the same hormone that is produced by a developing placenta.
“It is relatively unknown as patients don’t really talk about it,” the spokeswoman told the Irish Independent. “If the test results in a cancer diagnosis, then obviously it becomes irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, and if it is negative, it just means that further tests are needed.
“It is used for people of all ages, but the results are analysed in conjunction with scans and blood tests.”
Geldard was diagnosed with stage four testicular cancer, which had spread to his abdomen and lungs.
“I gave the hospital a urine sample, the pregnancy test came back positive, and I started chemotherapy the day after I was diagnosed,” Geldard explained. “I would go in for five days in a row and have the chemo constantly.
“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.
“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.”
In December, Geldard had surgery to remove the growth in his abdomen, the lymphatic system behind his stomach and a testicle. By January, tests revealed that he was cancer-free.
“It was a really strange feeling to be told I was OK again - you’re just sort of expected to go back to the normal, but my mindset has completely changed,” he said. “Before all this happened you think your life is pretty much guaranteed until you’re about 85, but it gave me the realisation 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,’” Geldard added. “It may be from Kung Fu Panda but it is how I feel.”
Geldard, now 19, has decided to focus his efforts on raising awareness about testicular cancer. He has become an ambassador for the Teenage Cancer Trust and is working with comedian John Bishop on a YouTube video documenting his experiences.
The teen is also writing a stand-up comedy routine and plans to visit local schools to help educate students about the disease.
“Cancer is no longer a death sentence, and I would like to spread that message,” Geldard said.