Did you know that testicular cancer is the most common form of cancer diagnosed in U.S. males between ages 15 and 44?
According to the American Cancer Society, roughly 1 in every 250 men will develop testicular cancer in their lifetime. Luckily, the disease is treatable and deaths are rare; nearly 97% of patients survive when diagnosed and treated early.
Testicular Cancer Prevention
Testicular cancer can’t be truly prevented as most known risk factors are uncontrollable, so the best way to take precautions is through a monthly testicular self-exam. The cancer is typically detected as a lump on the testicle, making it imperative to feel for any abnormalities on a routine basis. Self-exams are easy to administer and no man should skip out on performing one.
Simply take a warm shower or bath to loosen the skin, then pat the area dry and starting feeling for lumps. Just simply roll each testicle around using both hands. It’s important to be familiar with the feel of your testicles in order to tell if something is irregular. It’s normal for one testicle to be larger or hang lower than the other. Furthermore, the epididymis, a rope-like structure on the back of both testicles, should not be mistaken as a lump. After completing a self-exam, you should contact your physician immediately if anything seems abnormal.
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Testicular Cancer Treatment
Luckily, testicular cancer is typically only present in one testicle. However, treatment typically requires the removal of the cancerous testicle. Depending on the stage of the cancer, additional chemotherapy or radiotherapy may be required.
Despite the removal of a testicle, most survivors can lead highly functioning and pleasurable sex lives. Conceiving a child and the ability to get an erection are still possible with only testicle. Fortunately, in cases where both testicles are removed, sperm can be frozen beforehand, making intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF) still possible. The decrease in testosterone associated with the loss of both testicles can be treated with testosterone replacement therapy as well.