WATCH | This survivor is going nuts for testicular cancer awareness
Don’t mind the man running below Table Mountain in his Speedo. As a cancer survivor, Torsten Koehler is drawing attention to Love Your Nuts, the campaign he founded to get men talking about testicular cancer.
“At the age of 30 it feels like your world shatters into thousands of pieces because you don’t expect cancer,” he says.
Koehler was a school teacher when he received his diagnosis. While reading a children's sex education book to teach his class, he used the knowledge to check himself and discovered a lump.
The disease changed the trajectory of his life, and today Koehler adopts a comedic approach to tackle the subject head-on.
Men may be reluctant to open up about their bodies, leading to a late diagnosis of testicular cancer.
“Because men don't talk easily about their feelings and emotions, that's why nobody knows about this cancer,” Koehler says.
He believes that early detection saved his life, and has made it his personal mission to spread the word.
Each year, he described his personal story to his students and encouraged them to get checked out as well.
“I felt compelled to share my experience because it was a lonely and dark journey and nobody should go through this,” Koehler says.
In doing so, he saved the life of one of his students who was 16 years old when he was diagnosed.
This inspired the creation of his eccentric campaign.
Visiting schools, Koehler educates boys about their bodies and encourages them not to be ashamed.
He also provides emotional support to men who have recently been diagnosed.
To raise money and awareness, runners and cyclists wear branded ‘Love Your Nuts’ Speedos that are sure to catch people’s eyes and get them talking.
By changing the narrative and normalising conversation around the disease, testicular cancer can be prevented.
“If you detect it early, be nice to yourself, use humour,” Koehler says. “I'm a living example that you can survive it.”