Kentucky lawmaker using cancer journey to bring awareness

Link to Hope | Kentucky lawmaker hopes to bring awareness to Testicular cancer
Published: Apr. 19, 2023 at 7:17 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) -Testicular cancer is often diagnosed in young men ages 15 to 35 and it doesn’t always get the same attention other cancers do.

In this Link to Hope how one Kentucky lawmaker is using his own journey to open up the conversation and bring awareness to other men.

When a newly elected lawmaker from Carter Co. went to Frankfort he hoped to be a voice for others.

What State Representative Patrick Flannery couldn’t have known is that one of the things he would advocate for would be so personal.

On the House floor in March Flannery addressed his fellow lawmakers saying, “all I can say is what a different a year makes. This time last year I was battling stage 3 cancer.”

Still learning the ropes in Frankfort in December of 2021, then 40-year old Flannery saw a change in his health.

“I felt an unusual pain that wasn’t normal and felt like it was something I needed to get checked out,” said Flannery.

His doctors discovered testicular cancer.

For Flannery, a husband and father of two, hearing the words you have cancer was tough.

“It was definitely a life altering experience,” said Flannery.

According to the Mayo Clinic, testicular cancer is a growth of cells that starts in the testicles.

It occurs most often in males, ages to 15-45.

The first sign of testicular cancer is often a bump or lump on a testicle.

Flannery needed surgery, but later scans would reveal his battle wasn’t finished.

“The type that I had is actually a very fast moving, fast spreading form of cancer. It typically migrates northward,” said Flannery.

He had three cycles of chemo, lost his hair and finished up treatment on Good Friday in 2022.

His journey also led him to co-sponsor legislation after talking with other cancer survivors.

He successfully helped introduce and saw passage of House Bill 170 this year.

“What this bill will do it will require health plans to cover sperm and egg preservation, that wasn’t the law and the reason that’s really important particularly with women egg preservation can be an expensive process,” said Flannery.

Its important Flannery says because if women and men of child bearing years are diagnosed with cancer they might delay treatment so they could afford this procedure.

This March, Flannery also used his voice for a meaningful resolution on the House Floor.

The resolution called for April to be acknowledged as Testicular Cancer Awareness Month in Kentucky.

A link to hope this lawmaker is happy to provide.

“As long as I’m in the legislature that’s something I plan on filing that resolution and kind of being that spokesperson on that topic,” said Flannery.

Flannery says he wants men to know that testicular cancer is a very treatable disease.

In May of last year he was declared cancer free.