Shawn Parkhurst, a 20-year-old junior swimming sensation at Canisius College and native of Scirba, NY, experienced firsthand the beginning stages of testicular cancer. In November 2010, Shawn noticed a small lump on his testicle during a self-examination. Shawn was fortunate enough to have been educated in high school through Mexico High’s Health and Physical Education Department about testicular cancer because a former classmate was diagnosed with the same disease a few years prior.
Shawn’s neighbor and former classmate was a promising high school football star whose dreams and aspirations were delayed when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. He then successfully battled the disease and has since been cleared after chemotherapy and other forms of treatment. It took this incident for testicular cancer education to be incorporated into the Mexico High School health curriculum.
Because Shawn received extensive knowledge about testicular cancer in high school, he did not take the lump he discovered lightly. He acted immediately by visiting the Canisius College Health Center, where he was then directed to go to the Buffalo Urology Group. He then underwent tests and examinations from the doctors who were concerned with the lump. It was in the 2nd week of January in 2010 when Shawn had the lump on his testicle removed. Although the lump was not malignant at the time, the doctors needed to remove it because it was causing discomfort and also showed growth over time. Since then, Shawn has had his 6-month and 1-year follow- up appointments and is completely healthy. Shawn feels that he is very blessed to have caught the lump early enough to avoid experiencing any worse symptoms.
Along with being a 2-time member of the MAAC All-Academic team, he is a 3- time conference champion that holds the 1,000 freestyle MAAC record, which took place at the Bert Flickinger Center here in Western, NY. Shawn also holds 5 individual school records, was a member of 4 rely records, and holds 2 KAC pool individual records. Most impressively, Shawn is heading down to Ft. Myers, FL April 27, 2012 to take part in the open water Olympic trials, a 6.2-mile swim. Parkhurst has managed to succeed in his academics and the pool while maintaining his health. To just add to his already impressive resume, Shawn has been an original Carly’s Club member (since the age of 10) who takes part in Carly’s Crossing, a charity swim held in the Buffalo Harbor.
At the end of my conversation with Shawn he stated, “5 minutes in the shower each month conducting a self-exam could save your life.” He urges males to perform self-examinations at least once a month and is also a firm believer in testicular cancer knowledge being spread to high school students, just like he was privileged enough to receive at his school. Shawn Parkhurst was able to escape cancer by performing a self-exam, which allowed him to continue on swimming towards his dreams.