Young Man Takes Pregnancy Test For Fun. Discovers Rare Cancer
What started off as a joke turned out to be a life altering event.
José Gerardo Soares Filho, an 18-year old nursing student, decided that it might be fun to take a pregnancy test, but little did he know the result would be positive. It was in January of this year during a class. The hormonal alteration, the reason for the false positive, was due to a rare cancer called TGC (germ cell tumor, choriocarcinoma), located in the mediastinum (thoracic region).
This is usually a fast-growing cancer that occurs in a woman's uterus (womb). The abnormal cells start in the tissue that would normally become the placenta. But this odd abnormality of a cancerous growth not in any uterus affects young men (15-35 years of age) and rarely women. One of the symptoms is very high serum b-HCG, the same hormone whose blood dosage is widely used as a pregnancy test.
The "all for fun" pregnancy test experiment took place in January of this year. Gerardo has been going through chemotherapy sessions at the Peter Pan Hospital in Fortaleza. At the beginning of June, it did not look like things were getting better for Gerardo and doctors stated that surgery will be needed. The surgery consists of resecting the primary lesion, a tumor located in the mediastinum, and some pulmonary nodules.
Recently, relatives and friends started a collection campaign to raise $200,000 Brazilian Real (about $61,000 US) to cover the total costs for treatment and future surgery at the Hospital Beneficência Portuguesa, in São Paulo. The surgery alone is $98,000 R. As of yesterday, the website of the Todos por Gerardo campaign had $18,256.81. (http://todospelogerardo.com.br/)
We will definitely think of pregnancy tests in a different light now.
Our best wishes to Gerardo and his family.