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One man shares his experience after winning the battle against testicular cancer

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HONOLULU -

Some things don't get talked about, get ignored, get deferred. But one native Hawaiian man is looking to change that.

Young, old, strong or weak, male or female - cancer targets us all.

"It was our anniversary day, I went in for my check up, went in to see the doctor and said "Trevor, I need to take you," Trevor Maunakea, a cancer survivor said. 

Maunakea is now 48 years old, but recalls the day over two decades ago that changed his life forever.

"I didn't drink, smoke or do drugs. I thought I was the perfect specimen," Maunakea said. 

Age 27 living the good, clean life. Athletic and happily married. He and his wife Jan were about to celebrate five years together.
   
"She is the one that asked me about myself during an intimate time, why is one side bigger than the other, why does one side feel bigger than the other," Maunakea said. 

After Jan's prompting, he scheduled the appointment.

The doctor came right back with the bad news: testicular cancer and it was aggressive.
  
"It is a fast moving cancer. It starts as a lump in the testes and then can spread to lungs," Dr. Randall Holcombe, Director of the UH Cancer Center said. 
  
A fifth wedding anniversary, a first baby due in just months, Trevor had little time to discuss or decide with family. A religious man, precious little time to even pray.

"One thing we like to do before any big event or catastrophe, we like to take it in pray, we like to be in the ohana setting" Maunakea said. 

But Trevor was not afforded that time. Negative thoughts flooded his mind.

"Not being around for my wife and family, having to go through chemotherapy, what does that look like for me," Maunakea said. 

But he was fortunate because his wife noticed it early and pushed him to get help. Doctors were successful.

They removed his left testicle but didn't prescribe radiation. 

Still, as he recovered, he couldn't shake the self-doubt.

"Some of the things I thought as a man is I'd be inadequate that I wouldn't be able to have more children, that I'd be half a man," Maunakea said. 

Three years and four kids later, this is not half a man. Trevor is 100 percent and cancer free.

He's also driven. 

Now, he helps others help themselves. The first step is to know the signs.

"Early stage testicular cancer would be a lump or swelling or discomfort or pain int he testicular area," Holcombe said.

Then: speak up. Enter the Kane Initiative, a program that encourages men, especially in the Native Hawaiian community, to open up about their bodies and seek help when things aren’t quite right. Trevor knew just the right person for the job.

Him.
   
"When you talk about it, there's a giggle on the side because it's testicular cancer so I use that breakdown the wall with the man," Maunakea said.
 
Trevor dedicates his spare time to talking with his native Hawaiian community, there's a powerful message here: your life isn’t just about you.

"I have five children, three boys and two girls. The girls are twins so I hit the jackpot on that one. Every child that came out and the fifth one and the twin girls, it just goes to show there's life after testicular cancer and I share that story with the men that I talk with," Maunakea said. 
 

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