Meet BJ Lange, 39-year-old actor and comedian from Los Angeles, CA — and a testicular cancer survivor. Currently, two years in remission from a relapse.
In 2015, BJ discovered that his left testicle was enlarged. “People have been telling me for years due to my artistic lifestyle that I have ‘big balls,’ but my left testicle slowly began to become enlarged over a few months,” he says.
Originally, he thought it was due to his increased military fitness and various dietary supplements, but an ultrasound report said otherwise: his left testicle was the size of a small orange, and his right testicle was ‘unremarkable.’ To which BJ says, he was “offended about the insult to my right testicle.”
In September 2015, while he was on active orders serving as a medic in the Air Force Reserve at San Antonio Military Medical Center, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer and underwent a left radical orchiectomy and subsequent chemotherapy.
Almost two years later, in July 2017, his cancer relapsed into his lymph nodes and he underwent weeks of radiation therapy.
“It’s safe to say since joining the military, I’m half as nuts as I used to be,” he jokes.
His biggest takeaway from his cancer battle, “My jeans fit better, and I’m 50% less likely to zip my nut up in my pants, thanks to testicular cancer,” he kids.
“My biggest takeaway is probably that I can help others. By trying to find the silver lining in extreme adversity we are being a guide for those who will come behind us. Often times, in my case that means the brutal truth in a cancer diagnosis and finding the comedy to help others cope or understand. I’d much rather laugh than cry, although sometimes crying is exactly what you need.”
In fact, BJ uses his art not only as a coping mechanism, he says, “Improv is my life, truly using it as a lifestyle.
“Most notably to think outside the box and to accept whatever the scene (or life) brings us. I needed to remember that sometimes the script goes out the window and that this is really where the scene (or life) begins — outside of our comfort zone.
“I began to fear a lot of the unknown — my career, cancer treatments, cancer future. I’m not saying it’s easy by any means as I often feel like I’m still ‘dealing’ with this cancer physically and mentally, but I think it’s easier for me to adapt to this ‘new normal’ thanks to my improv background.”
BJ’s advice to men? “Manscape. Nah, I’d say to every man and woman reading this, please be advocates for your brothers, fathers, uncles, to self-exam and to seek help if something seems off — this also goes for mental health. Don’t be afraid to speak with someone.”
Big thank you to BJ for sharing his incredible story (with such a positive, comical attitude), for all the work he does helping others to cope with their new reality and for a fresh perspective to a cancer diagnosis. We appreciate all that you do!
For resources on testicular cancer, please visit: cacti.org/resources.