When an in-grown hair or "pimple" tries to kill you
WHEN Stephen Schroeder found a small purplish pimple on his groin in 2013, he dismissed it as an ingrown hair and ignored it for six months.
When it became a large round rash on his scrotum, he ignored it for another three months, thinking it was a kind of fungal infection that would go away on its own.
He tells the Washington Post how in 2014, he asked his doctor about it and was told to use an anti-fungal cream.
After that, with no luck, he was given a stronger type.
A dermatologist visit later and he was now no longer able to use certain soaps, shampoos or fabric softeners, yet the patch remained.
Finally, fifteen months after his first symptom, he asked to have a biopsy on the red mark.
The results came back faster than expected, and that was when Mr Schroeder was told he had extramammary Paget's disease, a type of cancer that affects the glands that produce sweat and often affects the vulva, scrotum or penis.
The affliction is so rare that even one the United States' best specialists had only seen four cases in his 10-year career.
He would undergo eight hours of surgery to remove the large cancer, and use skin grafts to rebuild the scrotum.
Nine months later, he found another patch and underwent a second surgery.
He has now returned to work, and occasionally flies to New York for testing as part of a study into his cancer.
"Guys like to put this stuff off," Mr Schroeder said.
"If this convinces one guy to get something checked out, it'll be worth it."