An NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center
Daniel Samson Success Story Image

Daniel Samson's cancer journey began in a rather typical manner. But it didn't stay that way.

The 41-year-old commercial photographer from Long Beach, California, was first diagnosed with testicular cancer when he was in his 20s, which fits the profile. Most of the roughly 8,400 men diagnosed each year are between the ages of 15 and 34. 

Daniel had surgery and received chemotherapy at a local hospital. Since testicular cancer has a 96 percent survival rate, Daniel thought he was cured.

He wasn't.

A decade later Daniel's cancer returned, spreading to the lymph nodes and growing into a large abdominal tumor. He would need further surgery, and this time there would be new challenges.

“Surgery the second time around can be extremely technical, with a high risk of complications,” said Jonathan Yamzon, M.D., assistant clinical professor and surgeon in City of Hope’s Division of Urology and Urologic Oncology.

In a 12-hour procedure, Yamzon and his team excised the cancer, which also required removing one of Daniel's kidneys. Today Daniel remains cancer-free and he's back to his normal life.

He also considers himself very lucky, in spite of his own behavior.

Daniel believes his second battle with cancer would have been considerably less drastic had he been diligent with his follow-up visits after the first round. Like many men, Daniel let things slide, afraid of what he might hear in the doctor's office. Now he's convinced that his recurrence would have been caught sooner, and his kidney might have been spared. It's a lesson he now shares at every opportunity.

“Trust me, the fear that comes from not knowing is way more stressful than finding out,” he says. “As soon as you feel something may be wrong, don't wait. Do something!”