(NEW YORK) — A 21-year-old student is thanking Reddit for saving his life, after a post on testicular cancer led to a life-saving diagnosis.
Taylor “Chase” Tyree, a computer science major at the Colorado School of Mines, was reading the social media site Reddit when he came across a post from a user called “uniballer,” who talked about being diagnosed with testicular cancer and posted a photo of his removed testicle.
Tyree found that the symptoms “uniballer” described were similar to ones he had been experiencing for months.
Symptoms of testicular cancer can include swelling or finding a mass in the testicles. Testicular cancer is the most common cause of cancer for American males between the ages of 15 and 34, according to the Mayo Clinic.
The day after reading the post Tyree went to the doctor to be checked and was immediately sent in for further tests. After giving Tyree an ultrasound, doctors found that Tyree had a cancerous mass in his left testicle. On Friday — just four days after seeing the Reddit post — Tyree had surgery to have his left testicle removed.
“I was a little bit scared, but the way I was coping with it, I was laughing about it. I was like ‘Hah, I’m going to lose a ball,’” said Tyree.
Tyree said that in addition to helping him identify cancer symptoms, the long Reddit post helped him deal with his diagnosis. Other users on the site posted their own stories about having testicular cancer and some contacted Tyree to give him words of encouragement.
“I was getting personal messages,” said Tyree, who said users told him, “You’re going to feel like an old man for a couple weeks.”
Many former testicular cancer patients told Tyree that they went on to have normal lives and one user wrote in saying he and his wife were expecting a baby, so the college junior shouldn’t be too concerned about fertility issues.
“It’s just something that happens [someday,] you’ll not have to think about it every day,” said Tyree.
Tyree also sent a message to the original “uniballer” thanking him for leading him to get diagnosed.
“I talked to the original poster, I said, ‘Hey, man, thank you for your post, I’m getting checked out,’” said Tyree.
Tyree said he has another appointment with an oncologist Thursday, but he said he expects he won’t have to go through further treatments as he recovers.
Tyree said other men the same age should be sure to do a self-exam on their testicles to stay safe on their testicles to look for unusual masses, swelling or other abnormalities.
“I never had to get a physical or check anything,” said Tyree. “Everyone notices about breast cancer but I had never heard anything about male self-exam.”
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
Alanna Petroff, CNN
Tal Kopan and Jeremy Diamond, CNN
Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
AJ Willingham, CNN