Self-Exams Are Key to Early Testicular Cancer Detection
Mike Craycraft was despondent to feel a lump in his left testicle but he put off seeing a doctor for 8 months. By that time, he had convinced himself the cancer had spread and he would be saying goodbye to his friends. But Mike was lucky. The cancer was still in the early stages and with treatment, he became a testicular cancer survivor.
Mike’s experience compelled him to found the Testicular Cancer Society to help other men. During Testicular Cancer Awareness Month in April, the organization aims to raise awareness of the disease, encourage men to perform self-exams and seek medical help if they find a lump.
Why is early detection important? In the early stages, when the cancer is limited to the testicles, the 5-year survival rate is nearly 100%. When detection is delayed and the cancer has spread, that survival rate drops to about 71%. In most cases, the cancer is found by the men themselves or their partners, rather than by their doctors.
About Testicular Cancer
One in 250 men will be diagnosed with testicular cancer and one in 5,000 will die of the disease. It is the most common form of cancer for men between the ages of 15-34 and it can affect one or both testicles.
Young Caucasian men are at highest risk for this type of cancer, but it can affect men of any age. Those with a family history of testicular cancer may be at slightly higher risk.
Monthly Self-Exams Are Easy
Self-exams only take a few minutes and can be performed in the shower. The most common symptoms are painless swelling, hardness or lump in the testicle, although a small percentage of men experience pain. Some men may feel a dull ache in the groin or lower abdomen.
Any changes or abnormalities detected on self-exam should be reported to your doctor as soon as possible. Contact your Family Medicine physician or seek out a urologist through Specialty Consulting Services at Hudson Physicians.
This April, encourage the men in your life — especially younger men — to start doing monthly self-exams. And if you’re a man, do yourself a favor: keep an eye out for any changes in your testicles and see your doctor if you have any concerns.