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Conquering Cancer with Courage

On the day of his 37th birthday, Carmine Savino realized something was wrong. “I couldn’t get comfortable,” he said. “There was sharp pain in my lower back…running down my leg.” He knew something was off, but as an otherwise healthy, active guy, he never considered the possibility
of cancer.

His wife Patricia encouraged him to book a doctor’s appointment, which led to the discovery of a mass hidden in his abdomen. He was then referred to Princess Margaret Cancer Centre where he was diagnosed with testicular cancer, Stage 3. “I worried I wouldn’t see my kids grow up,” Carmine said.

When he met with his oncologist, Dr. Aaron Hansen, he was faced with a choice: “My oncologist took a serious tone and laid it all out for me. [He said] ‘you can [start treatment], or do nothing, and eventually die,’” Carmine recalled. “I knew I had to do it.”

With Patricia and their two young children in mind, Carmine started chemotherapy. At first, he felt optimistic, but by the third round, he’d hit a wall. “I told my wife that was it. I was done…but she told me to snap out of it and reminded me why I needed to see it through,” he said.

With the constant support of both his family and his care team at The Princess Margaret, Carmine found the courage to persevere through four rounds of chemo, and his tumour shrank.

The last step of his treatment was an eight-hour surgery to remove the remainder of the tumour. “About 10 family members were with me that day—we’re Italian, so if one of us is sick, we’re all sick,” he said with a smile. The procedure was a resounding success.

Thanks to programs like the Princess Margaret Home Lottery, that fund life-saving cancer research and continuous improvements in cancer care, Carmine is now living cancer free with almost no chance of recurrence. He is looking forward to watching his kids grow up by his wife’s side.