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17 July 2020

Testicular cancer survivor given 50/50 chance of survival at 23 overcomes ordeal to live full and healthy life

A testicular cancer sufferer who was given a 50/50 chance of survival at the age of 23 has spoken about how staff and specialists at Weston Park Cancer Centre gave him the strength to overcome his cancer battle and make the most of every single day of his life.

Marvin Henshaw, now 49, of Fulwood, was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1994, and was told he might never have children. But the “spirit” of Weston Park Cancer Centre helped him shape a negative experience into a positive one and, not only did he go on to outlive his diagnosis, but he travelled the world, got married, had three children and now is the owner of his own successful drinks business.

“Ironically I already knew a little bit about testicular cancer before my diagnosis as one of my friends had recently been diagnosed with it too,” said Marvin who had his holiday in Greece dramatically cut short due to severe back and testicle pain.

He was admitted to Weston Park Cancer Centre, where he was given the news that his testicular cancer was quite advanced, with a possibility that it might also have spread to his chest, lungs and liver.

“When you are young you think you are invincible, but the cancer was quite developed. I was told I had a 50/50 chance of survival, and a free 50% chance of living. Mentally the staff gave me the motivation to make the most of every single day and I’m living proof of the success of cancer treatments.”

Over the next six to seven months, Marvin went on to endure a gruelling series of chemotherapy treatments and, with the cancer confirmed to have spread to his chest, lungs and liver, he underwent extensive surgery to remove his testicle. During treatment, he lost a drastic amount of weight and was left sick and weak from the toxic effects of the chemotherapy. But, encouraged by the quality of care and communication from everyone within the hospital, from the domestics to the doctors, Marvin used his experience to live a good life.

“I could have died, but I’ve made a good recovery. When people think about a cancer hospital they feel daunted and scared, but the place and people gave me energy and I used my cancer experience to live my life.”

After finishing treatment in 1995 Marvin spent the next few years travelling with his cousin, Craig Hall, who tragically would later die of the same disease of which Marvin was cured, a moment Marvin describes as his “greatest challenge”. “Craig would set me a goal and we would do it together. We explored the world together so nothing compares to the challenge of losing him.”

In 2006 Marvin settled down and married his wife of 14 years, Anne and they had three children. Having worked in the drinks industry all his life, he decided to set up his own business in 2013 and has helped raise thousands of pounds for Weston Park Cancer Charity.

“I’m so thankful to Weston Park Cancer Centre. They gave me my life. The treatment created for each patient and the way the facilities and care support a person’s wellbeing and mental statement is excellent.”

Thanks to advances in treatment, testicular cancer is now one of the most curable cancers, with 95% of men diagnosed with the disease going on to survive the disease for at least five years.


Photo: Marvin (left) with his consultant, Professor Rob Coleman (middle) on the 100-mile ‘Tour de South Yorkshire & North Derbyshire’ charity ride for Weston Park Cancer Charity in September 2017.

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