Testicular cancer education in a nutshell
Torsten Koehler is a ballsy testicular cancer survivor who this year has officially been cancer free for 19 years. He was born and raised in Windhoek, Namibia. At the age of 30, Torsten was diagnosed with testicular cancer whilst educating young teenagers about ‘sex education’ at a school. “I discovered a change in my testicles and was worried, so I went to the doctor. The diagnosis was cancer. I was lucky since they could operate right away. After receiving chemo, I was saved from death.”
Yet then the real fight for life started as Torsten lost his passion for living and fell into deep depression – a typical reaction for cancer patients. Torsten was working as deputy principal at a government school, but sought an alternative method of dealing with his problems. “I gave up all secure living and started off on a long journey, around the world and back to myself. I spent two years on this endeavour.”
In 2007 Torsten moved to Cape Town where he still resides today. At present he is following his passions, photography and design, after leaving the teaching profession in 2005.
Since being diagnosed with testicular cancer, Torsten has gone on a mission to raise awareness of the disease, and to educate and empower boys and men of how they should “love their nuts enough to check them regularly.”
“We make jokes that are below the belt, but as soon as it gets serious there, we don’t talk. I think men are scared they are not man enough anymore if they go through testicular or prostate cancer.”
Testicular cancer most commonly affects men between the ages of 15-38, and the youngest affected testicular cancer survivor that Torsten has met was 12 years old. The sad truth is testicular cancer often goes undetected in boys and men because people are too shy to talk about it.
“Since my diagnoses of testicular cancer, I explained the risk of testicular cancer every year in class to make the boys aware. A former student of mine invited me for coffee in 2006 just to say thank you that I made them aware.
Because of that he went to the doctor in time and was saved at the age of 16! Making a difference in one person’s life makes it worthwhile standing up for cancer and this energises me to talk “balls” as much as I can!”
Ιf testicuar cancer is detected earlt, statistics indicate the survival rate is 96%.
Known for shedding light on this subject that most boys and men shy away from, in an entertaining way that breaks the ice a bit, Torsten has released the “Love Your Nuts” book, which is about his journey and fight against cancer. The book was published internationally in 2011 in English. He also just launched a special awareness and education project under the umbrella organisation, People Living with Cancer (PLWC) called Love Your Nuts – Testicular Cancer Education in a Nutshell.
“The successful LIVESTRONG school programme from the USA will be adjusted for use in the South African school environment. The content of the cancer book for students consists of cancer information, cancer treatment, and how to support those living with cancer. For the teachers it includes a manual on how to generate classroom discussions about cancer information, cancer treatment, and how to support those living with cancer. This material will help students to cope with and learn about cancer, as well as get involved in the fight against cancer in your community,” Torsten explains.
If you/your company would like to get involved and support health issues in South Africa and help Torsten educate the young generations about cancer, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website www.love-your-nuts.com for more information.
Torsten Koehler’s message to readers:
Got them? Love them. Check them!