His penis was amputated and he wants you to know why
Wayne Earle applied wart cream on his penis for 11 months before he received the bad news.
The 53-year-old actually had penile cancer and would have to have a penectomy - a full amputation at the base.
Mr Earle went to hospital in August 2013 to have a skin cancer removed from his arm and at the same time had been seeing a dermatologist about the lump on his penis, which he was reassured was a genital wart.
"I came home and told my wife and we had this argument about when, how and why," he said.
As time passed, Mr Earle noticed the cream wasn't working so he kept hassling the doctors.
"It went from a little pea-sized lump to about the size of 10c piece," he said.
"Penile cancer is really rare and unfortunately gets misdiagnosed. It was only because I kept pushing it with the doctors."
Mr Earle, from Silverdale, NSW, was finally diagnosed in April 2014.
He had surgery the following month, as well as a perineal urethrostomy (an opening created from the urethra to the perineum), and in August was told he would have to have a bilateral lymph node dissection in the groin.
"It's safe to say in that moment, I felt as if every part of the being that made me a man was stripped of me," he said.
"It was like I lost my best friend."
For Men's Health Week, Mr Earle is raising awareness for the type of cancers men don't want to talk about.
When he was diagnosed he said it was hard to find much information.
Now he runs a Facebook group with 207 members from eight countries.
"I felt I was the only person in the world who had this type of cancer," he said.
"I didn't want another man to go through what I went through, feeling alone. It's so important to raise awareness and provide support."
Hailing from the bush, Mr Earle said he grew up being taught not to grumble.
"Like all of us, I was raised not to moan, b**ch and complain," he said.
"I've been battling that thing of men being embarrassed. I want them to know it's OK to have problems, it's OK to have your sh*t checked and it's not weak to speak up if you have a problem."
He also runs the Check Your Tackle charity to encourage men to see a doctor or talk about things like testicular, anal or penile cancer.
Mr Earle said he is determined to show other men with this type of cancer that "life goes on".
"Your penis doesn't make you a man," he said.
"It's what you do and how you achieve things that makes you a man."
Mr Earle has been cancer-free since and was released from treatment six months ago.
This Men's Health Week, Cancer Council NSW is encouraging all Australians to check in on the men in their lives.
If you or someone you know needs cancer information or support, call Cancer Council NSW on 13 11 20.
Originally published as Man forced to have penis removed