Don’t be embarrassed: Teen’s apprehension about testicular cancer almost cost him his life

Published 5:29 pm Tuesday, June 13, 2023

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By Mike Barnhardt

Enterprise Record

Never give up.

And don’t be embarrassed.

Korbin Minns didn’t give up. But his embarrassment almost cost him his chance at graduating with the Class of 2023 at Davie County High School. Actually, it almost cost him his life.

Korbin didn’t know until near the end of the school year, but he had earned enough credits to graduate with his fellow classmates, despite missing most of last year going through treatments for cancer.

He had noticed a growth on one of his testicles for quite a while, but was too embarrassed to tell anyone. After it didn’t get better, he finally told his parents, Mike and Jackie Minns.

They assumed it was “just” a cyst, but a trip to the doctor a couple of weeks later proved otherwise.

“Immediately, the doctor sent us to imaging that same day,” his mother said. “The urologist told us they always treat it as cancer because 99 percent of the time it is.” Testicular is the highest-diagnosed cancer among teen boys.

“It had already spread to his abdomen, lymph nodes, lungs and liver,” she said, hoping that telling his story will lead to more awareness, and more boys telling someone when something about their body changes.

“If we had caught it sooner, it may have been preventable. We’ve heard stories of kids who have died before they told anyone. They were afraid to tell anyone.”

Korbin spent weeks at Brenner’s Children’s Hospital getting treatments, and seeing other children with cancer helped him to not feel sorry for himself.

A soccer player at Davie High, being put on the bench for cancer treatments was a life-changing experience. He toughed it out, because that was the thing to do.

It helped he had the support of his family, his faith in God and his best friend, Sam Rosser, who stayed by his side, even attending a chemo treatment or two with him.

Korbin’s toughest time was after the treatments, when he had lost weight, lost his hair and lost his energy.

“It was more annoying to start with,” he said. “There was nothing I could do about it. I just thought I would be OK. After I got home, it hit me. I felt terrible, no weight, no hair. I was like in a daze with a brain fog. I couldn’t think clearly.”

His mother credits his family, Sam, their faith, the Davie County School System and the community for bringing the family through the ordeal. Korbin was pronounced cancer free in December.

“The coolest part is seeing how the community reacted,” she said. “It was so very uplifting and amazing how people in this community came together for this one family. Everybody came together and it was just wonderful.”

Korbin made it across the stage on Saturday, and plans to take classes at Davidson-Davie Community College.

And he has a message for all teen boys who may notice something unusual about their bodies.

“Definitely get it checked out immediately,” he said. “The only reason mine spread is because I put it off. I was embarrassed.”