About Testicular Cancer
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It’s the most common cancer in men ages 15-40.
- 1 in every 270 men will be diagnosed with Testicular Cancer.
- An estimated 7,920 new cases will be diagnosed every year in the US alone.
- This means, on average, one man hears, “You have Testicular Cancer,” every hour of every day of one whole year.
- About 370 of the 8,500 diagnosed will die from the disease.
- When Testicular Cancer is diagnosed early and is confined to the testes, the 5-year survival rate is 99%.
- The 5-year survival rate drops to 96% once the cancer has spread to regional lymph nodes.
- If the cancer has metastasized (spread) to distant areas of the body, the 5-year survival rate drops to 71%.
- There are almost no known risk factors for this disease; it strikes at-will and spreads rapidly.
Cancer occurs when growth of abnormal cells occur at a pace faster than the body can maintain or control. Instead of dying after maturation or dividing to form replacements or help with repairs, cancer cells instead continue to grow and form new, abnormal cells. These cells carry within them damaged DNA which they continue to replicate, forming an abundance of cells the body does not need and cannot properly maintain. The danger therein lies when those abnormal cells begin invading and damaging other tissues in the body. In most cases, those masses of irregular cells form tumors. Not all tumors are cancerous, and all cancers behave differently and have different origins, so it’s important to know what you’re dealing with when it comes to this disease.
Testicular Cancer is infamous for being the “young man’s cancer” as it’s the most common form of cancer for men 15-40. Recent research suggests that 1 in 250 men will be diagnosed with testicular cancer although it’s relatively rare, counting as 1% of all cancers men will face in their lifetime.
The testicles are some hard-working balls. Not only do they produce sperm, but they also account for the production of the male hormone testosterone. Because they’re one of the few organs outside the body, every guy knows just how sensitive they are. That may seem like their biggest drawback, but in the cancer world, it’s their biggest strength because it makes self-examination so much easier. You can’t reach down and feel if you have live cancer, but a few minutes every month to help make sure early detection leads to a long and healthy life with at least one your life-long friends.
In many cases, men with Testicular Cancer feel no illness and there is no pain involved. The only way to detect is by performing REGULAR SELF-EXAMINATIONS and identifying any changes that may need attention.
You’re bathing regularly, hopefully, most likely naked when doing so, which creates the best opportunity to put in some beneficial work. The water is usually warm and everything’s hanging out there nice and low, so take some time (but not too much) for the following:
*Hold the penis aside for now (you’re not here for that).
*Check the scrotum (aka “sack” or “coin purse”) for any swelling or redness.
*Gently, (GENTLY!) roll one testicle at a time between your thumb, index and middle fingers, feeling (GENTLY!) for any irregularities: hardness, bumps, extreme sensitivity, or painful patches.
*Nothing? Great, tell the boy’s you’ll be back next month and finish your body cleansing experience.
*Find Something? Schedule an appointment with your doctor ASAP, after you finish showering, dry off and put some clothes on of course.
There are many other signs of testicular cancer, but it’s important to also note that these signs may not be directly related to testicular cancer, so do not panic. It’s important to speak with a doctor should any of the following arise:
*abnormal or painful growth of the breasts
*a constant ache in the scrotal sack
*a swelling of the scrotal sack
*any sort of testicle enlargement or rapid growth
*conversely, any significant reduction in size of one of the testicles (they should be about evenly matched- no favorites)
It’s a scary world out there, we know. You’ve been blessed with this amazing body that can do and overcome so many things. And that body sometimes gets cancer, but thankfully testicular cancer is highly survivable. In those unfortunate cases, surgical removal of a testicle overrun with cancer may be the only valid option. Thankfully, you’ve been outfitted with a pair, and many survivors live long and happy lives and are able to have loads of children from just one powerhouse ball.
So you’ve given yourself an exam and something’s not right. Nervous? That’s perfectly understandable, but it’s nothing to be ashamed of; it’s extremely common among young people, remember? Before you jump to conclusions, however, it may be a good idea to have a doctor take a look at what’s going on down there. There are many tests which can be done to determine whether or not you have one of the most treatable diseases in the cancer world. The following are some of the tests that can help determine your prognosis.
*Ultrasound (not just for babies): this test is very popular because it’s relatively safe; it uses no radiation. Just like a bat flying in the night, ultrasound tests use sound waves to produce a layout of your internal organs. The emitting sound waves are produced by a transducer, bounce off of the surface of your inner workings, and a computer uses that information to construct a image of your testicle. Some images can even tell doctors whether or not the lump is benign (pretty safe) or malignant (less safe).
*Simple blood testing: slightly more invasive, blood testing can tell doctors whether or not testicular cancer is present based on the level of certain proteins (sometimes called “tumor markers”). A significant increase in these proteins can also point to how much cancer may be present.
*Surgery: if the doctor believes the testicle is afflicted, they may opt for the surgical removal of the testicle along with the spermatic cord. The spermatic cord houses lymphs vessels that in many cases act as a cancer highway, leading the cancer from the testicle to spread into other areas of the body. Once removed, the specimen is sent for further testing to conclude what type of testicular cancer is present and whether or not it may have spread to other areas of the body. This could lead to further testing to make sure you’re in the clear.