Studies show that men make 33% fewer healthcare provider visits than women and are 24% less likely than women to have visited a doctor within the past year. As a result, their healthcare experience is often reactive instead of proactive. The goal of June’s Men’s Health Month is to shed light on health conditions impacting men and break down the barriers and stereotypes that prevent men from seeking routine, urgent and emergent care.
Testicular cancer is not immune to this unfortunate trend. Although it is the most common type of cancer in men ages 15-35, many have limited knowledge or have never heard of testicular cancer. Because of the nature of the topic, prevention, screening and symptoms are often not discussed, leading many men experiencing symptoms of testicular cancer to prolong doctor’s visits and ignore warning signs.
In more than 90% of testicular cancer cases, tumors stem from the germ cells that create sperm. Although these tumors can grow and spread rapidly, doctors and researchers have recently made great progress in treating testicular cancer. Depending on the type and stage of the cancer, doctors can use surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and/or high-dose chemotherapy and stem cell transplant to eliminate the cancer. When testicular cancer is detected early, these treatments are extremely effective – testicular cancer is one of the most curable cancers.
By performing a monthly testicular self-exam and scheduling routine annual physicals, you can find and address issues early on. When performing monthly self-exams, you should be attentive to symptoms of testicular cancer such as a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum, a dull ache in the lower abdomen or groin, a lump or swelling in the scrotum, a change in the size or shape of a testicle or a sudden accumulation of blood or fluid in the scrotum. Although non-cancerous conditions can have similar symptoms, these signs may be an indication of testicular cancer and should not be left untreated.
If you are experiencing symptoms of testicular cancer or have found an unusual lump, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider.
In honor of Men’s Health Month, take the preventive steps needed to protect against testicular cancer and work towards a more proactive and healthy lifestyle.