You may see a lot of violet ribbons this month and be wondering what they stand for. Testicular Cancer Awareness Month is in full force throughout the month of April, and the goal is to get the word out on just what testicular cancer is and how it affects men. While it is among one of the least common cancers, with 1 in 263 men diagnosed in his lifetime over 8,000 cases are diagnosed each year, and around 400 cases are fatal. If caught before it spreads from the testicles, the survival rate is around 99%.
Testicular cancer is cancer that begins in the testicles, or testes. The testicles are part of the male reproductive system and have 2 main functions: creating male hormones such as testosterone, and creating sperm, which are the male cells needed to fertilize a female egg. It’s important that men begin to get screened for testicular cancer at the age of 33. While some cases do arise in youths, it is very rare. Take time out of your day to take a special man in your life to go get tested or make sure they know the importance of getting tested.
What are the risk factors?
- There are many factors that can increase your chances of getting testicular cancer. The best way to prevent cancer of any kind is to maintain a healthy lifestyle, by watching your weight and staying away from cigarettes. The risks for testicular cancer are as follows:
- An undescended testicle
- Family history of testicular cancer
- HIV infection
- Carcinoma inside of the testicle
- Previous diagnosis of testicular cancer before
- Body size
While many men may be uncomfortable with screenings, self-exams are encouraged. Men can perform self-exams monthly, and if they notice any irregularities consult their physician for an in-depth exam. Irregularities can be felt by lumps on the testes that were not there before, similar to a breast self-exam as well as experiencing swelling in one or both testicles. Many men experience heaviness or aching in the lower abdomen or scrotum.
Education is one of the best defenses against cancer. The more we know, the more we can be prepared for a diagnosis of testicular cancer. There are many survivors, and during Testicular Cancer Awareness Month there are a variety of programs and events dedicated to informing the community about testicular cancer. Contact University Cancer Centers to learn more about screening and prevention or to set up an appointment with Dr D’Andrea.
It’s time you waved your violet ribbons high. Testicular cancer is a cancer that men need to be on the lookout for. This doesn’t excuse ladies from not being informed by any means – we’re sure there’s a man in their lives that needs to be looked out for. Take time to realize just what’s important – your health. Taking steps to ensure that you live a long and cancer-free life is the best thing you can do for yourselves. It is an investment into your future, and you’re worth it. Testicular cancer can strike at any time, and now that you know the factors you can properly arm yourself.