Book Extract: ‘One Testicle, or two?’ — How do you tell someone you have testicular cancer?

‘one testicle or two?’ is taken from Good for a grin by Brenda Burling. This story was contributed by the book by dan, a man who battled testicular Cancer and had to figure out how he was going to tell his friends — what would their reaction be? This is one of our favourite stories from the book, this one really does represent everything that Good for a grin is all about. 

Dan had the diagnosis confirmed to him, he had testicular cancer.

Telling everyone was the hardest bit, once he and his wife Nat had got over the initial shock. With rugby mates, doing this over beer and a curry was the only way forward. Dan, how- ever, didn’t gauge his audience very well and began before everybody had arrived, meaning he ended up telling the tale three times over. It took less than five minutes before someone started taking the piss.

Cheers, fellas!

Mates being mates, they responded in the only way they knew how. More beer and an in-depth discussion on the offending nut and its possible replacement.

There then followed a debate that would rival a UN convention on the probabilities of getting a really big replacement. Can you request a specific size and weight? Could you get an extra two – just how impressive would that be? Was it possible to acquire a titanium one? The grown-up, educated drinkers dis- cussed all possible scenarios long into the night. Everyone was a dedicated expert. Dan found the evening both comforting and highly edu- cational (well, not really the last bit).

The hangover the next day was so worth it. The world was back to relative normality, life carries on. When the pros and cons were dis- cussed, Dan decided the prosthetic route was not for him: there would be no replacement.

ABOUT good for a grin

You might think comedy and cancer are a bit like chalk and cheese, but you’d be surprised. Good For a Grin has helped men across the UK open up about cancer and share their stories with others.

Research has shown that men find it more difficult to talk about cancer – the symptoms, the effects, and the impact it has on their lives. We hope that this book can go some way to changing that; there’s nothing to be embarrassed about, there’s no shame in it and there’s no reason to feel alone. Laughter is a wonderful way to bring people together and help them feel comfortable, and this book is full of laughs.

Written by Brenda Burling – author of the original cancer chronicle, Might Make You Smile, which focuses more on a female perspective – Good for a Grin puts the spotlight on men. These hilarious short stories have been written to lighten the mood, crack a smile, and bring you to tears with laughter.

10% of proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to Oddballs / The Oddballs Foundation (registered charity no. 1164815).


Brenda Burling is a prolific author, columnist, and guest speaker who also manages to find time to regularly write a blog. She lives with her family and a Staffordshire Bull Terrier called Steve on the Essex / Hertfordshire border; an area she feels has helped to bring about some of her best work.

Might Make You Smile is Brenda’s fourth book to be published and the first to be published by Matthew James. The idea for Might Make You Smile was inspired by the struggles of so many loved ones and close friends, who have battled cancer.

Good for a grin BY BRENDA BURLING

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