(WTNH) – November is Men’s Health Awareness Month, which is sometimes called ‘No Shave November’ or ‘Movember.’
A few of the men from News 8 have put the razor away for the month to encourage men to go to the doctor and get that checkup.
A man from Hartford who works for a well-known company didn’t go to the doctor, and as a result, cancer spread through his body. Now, he’s speaking out to help others.
Brett Edgerton is healthy now, but almost 15 years ago, he was not.
“Spring of 2007, I had that gut feeling that something was wrong. I didn’t know what it was, some pain lingering in my lower back, but I was just a stubborn 24-year-old guy who was adverse about going to the doctor and ask questions about my health. Surely, I’m healthy at 24, so I let it linger,” Edgerton said.
Edgerton is the director of social media at ESPN. Back in 2007, he let that pain linger for weeks and even went away on assignment.
“I remember specifically being at the women’s Final Four for ESPN in Cleveland and not being able to sleep and I walked downtown Cleveland at 3 in the morning because I just couldn’t sleep because of the lower back pain was too much,” Edgerton said.
So, upon his return, he called the doctor’s office but didn’t go right away.
“Called my doctor, set up something, I’d like to say I didn’t express an urgency and so I went in and it didn’t take long. I can specifically remember the doctor saying, ‘oh boy’ and I guess I kind of knew there and said it was a no-brainer, we don’t’ need to run any tests. The size, it couldn’t be anything but cancer,” Edgerton said.
The news was shocking. Edgerton had testicular cancer and needed surgery the next day, and there was more bad news. The cancer had spread to his back and lymph nodes.
“It’s the one time in my life your whole, sort of, it’s weird, your whole life just flashes by you,” Edgerton said.
Edgerton’s battle was just beginning. He underwent seven months of chemotherapy and another surgery.
“It was draining. I had several things coming out of me at different times, you know. In the end, it works, but chemo is poison, it is helpful poison, but it messes with your mind a little and there was a lot of nausea and lost every hair on my body,” Edgerton said.
Making the ordeal worse was the stress.
“There is fear, there is worrying about your family and loved ones and then when you are 24 and you’ve worked so hard to reach the pinnacle of being a sports fan, someone working in the business at ESPN, I think your first thought is this going to cost me my job. Not that I would be fired, but is this going to put me behind because the original prognosis was months and months of chemo. I was just starting to climb the ladder,” Edgerton said.
Fears about his career at EPSN were unfounded.
“Immediately, the executives at the highest level called me to offer support. My friends got together, planned meals every day,” Edgerton said.
Brett eventually beat cancer.
“I would say it in a few different ways, it is cliché, I think you tend to value any time there is, doubt that your life could be in danger, it puts things into perspective.
Edgerton is now an advocate for testicular cancer awareness, encouraging men to check themselves down below and see a doctor yearly to get a physical exam that includes a testicular check.