Proactive Berkeley Heights Man Spots Testicular Cancer Early   

Proactive Berkeley Heights Man Spots Testicular Cancer Early

Standing outside, 28-year-old James Harabedian claps his hands. Photo credit: Action Shooters

James Harabedian, Jr. has never been one to shy away from a challenge. Growing up in New Jersey, his competitive nature fell in love with ice hockey, soccer and lacrosse. But when the 28-year-old sales manager and lacrosse coach was diagnosed with testicular cancer, he knew it would be the greatest test of his adversity to date. And in this ultimate competition with cancer, Harabedian is prevailing.

In February 2023, the Berkeley Heights man discovered a lump in his left testicle that he knew wasn’t there the week before. He didn’t hesitate to take action. Within days, James learned it was testicular cancer. Although the diagnosis was shocking and frightening, James had a proactive, fighting spirit and the will to win on his side.

“You know deep down it can happen to anybody, but you never expect it will be you,” he says. “Then all of a sudden you’re in that moment, so the focus is immediately on what do I need to learn, what do I need to change, and what caused this?”

Common Symptoms of Testicular Cancer

While the cause isn’t usually clear, testicular cancer is the most common cancer affecting people assigned male at birth from ages 15 to 35. The most common sign is a painless lump in the testicle. Testicular cancer that’s diagnosed and treated early has an excellent cure rate.

That’s why James immediately moved forward with his doctor’s recommendation to have the testicle removed with surgery. A family friend connected him with the staff at Hackensack Meridian Health, who led him through months of scans and blood work—and eventually, a robotic-assisted retroperitoneal lymph node dissection in August.

“The chance of developing testicular cancer is about 1 in 270,” says Nitin Yerram, M.D., director of urologic oncology at Hackensack University Medical Center, where he offers patients the most advanced screening options and state-of-the-art treatments. “Fortunately, the cure rate is excellent, especially when caught early—which is why we encourage all men to know the symptoms.”

Dr. Yerram says the most common sign of testicular cancer is a painless lump, but other symptoms may include:

  • Swelling or sudden fluid build-up
  • A feeling of heaviness
  • Pain or discomfort in your scrotum or a testicle
  • A shrinking testicle

Proactive Mindset Ensures Healthy Future

James calls Dr. Yerram and his staff, “The best medical professionals I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.” Now over a year out from his initial diagnosis, James’ scans have been clear, and his health is more in focus than ever.

“We have to be thoughtful about how proactive we are,” says James. “So, I’ve been creating a new routine as an adult. Once I realized what was at stake, I told myself I won’t let this define me or stop me in my tracks. I used the surgery as a reset button and found the silver lining in the situation.”

The silver lining now foreshadows a bright future for James. Happily living with his girlfriend who has supported him along every step of this journey, he is deliberate about eating a nutritious diet while remaining active and coaching youth lacrosse. Being well on his way to officially beating cancer is his greatest victory.

“This whole process of getting healthy again has taken about a year,” James says. “I know for many people with cancer that’s not the case, and I don’t take that for granted.”

Next Steps & Resources

The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.


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