By Laura Bourdeanu, NP, PhD
Before you go switching to another website, hear us out. Testicular cancer awareness month is approaching fast and you need to take testicular cancer more seriously. Many men dona��t take it seriously or find it embarrassing to go to a physician for a testicular examination. Additionally, many men are also unaware of testicular cancer risks as they were never taught about it.
Testicular cancer is one of the rarer types of cancer at 0.5% of all reported new cases but it should not be downplayed due to this mere statistic or its high cure rate. The average age of men that are diagnosed with testicular cancer is around 33 years of age and around 8700 young men were estimated to be diagnosed with the disease in 2016. This is not surprising as most are unaware of the risks associated with testicular cancer and how to go about an exam.
When the cancer is localized, meaning it hasna��t spread out from where it started to the rest of the body, the chances of survival for 5 years after diagnosis, relative to people of the same age, race and sex, are 99.3% which are some of the best odds. If it has spread to nearby lymph nodes, it is still manageable, and the relative chances of surviving after 5 years are still very high at 96.1%. Even at a larger spread if it has moved beyond the regional lymph nodes, 3 out of 4 people diagnosed will survive after 5 years compared to those not diagnosed with testicular cancer.
Younger men are uncomfortable with doctors touching their testicles. It can be understandably embarrassing. But getting testicular examination can save your life, along with regular exams such as body weight and cardiac rhythm (heartbeat), may be just as important because the doctor will be able to tell you about your testicular health, and what are your chances of getting testicular cancer. The common age when men can develop testicular cancer is 20-34 so it is advisable to consult your physician about getting tested and examined regularly.
If you ask your doctor about your risk of testicular cancer during a regularly scheduled physical exam in the month of April (as it is the testicular cancer awareness month) the doctor will examine different parts of your body for any signs of infection or problems, looking for bumps on or around the testes that may indicate hernia or earlier signs of testicular cancer. Ask your doctor to teach you methods of self-examination of testiclesA� because you may not always be able to go to the doctor for an examination. It will help you notice when your testicles are healthy and what, if anything is wrong with them. Bumps and lumps on the testicles that are discovered earlier lead to a higher chance of nipping that testicular cancer in the bud.