As we welcome in the cheerful season of spring with refreshing rain showers and the budding of new flowers, we’re also provided with an opportunity to step back and focus on optimizing our health. With April being Testicular Cancer Awareness Month, it allows men (who historically have a disconnect from their health) the time to learn more on warning signs, treatment, and effects the disease has on their daily routines. With early detection being as detrimental as it is, a month centered around awareness will give many the information that could possibly be a matter of life or death in the long run. Read below for all the information you need to know about testicular cancer.
Signs & Symptoms
Catching these warning signs (at an early stage) can be tricky. Testicular cancer symptoms tend to appear mildly, and easy to write off, so it is important to be familiar with your body and what presents as abnormal!
The most common symptoms that typically gets men into the doctors office is the formation of a lump on the testicals or a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum. Other signs to be on the look out for are back pain, dull aches in the abdomen, a sudden collection of fluid in the scrotum, or an enlargement or tenderness in the breast area. If you experience any of these symptoms, especially for over two weeks, you should visit your physician immediately.
There are no proven causes for testicular cancer, however there are factors that may put you at a greater risk to become diagnosed. Testicular cancer tends to affect younger men between the ages 15 and 44 (however, it can occur at any age). Abnormal testicle development can also negatively impact your odds.
As with many cancers, the extent of the treatment depends on the stage your cancer is diagnosed in. However, throughout all stages, doctors tend to recommend removal of the cancerous testicle. After surgery, you will either be closely monitored with regular physical exams or treated with radiotherapy or chemotherapy. However, if your cancer has spread to other parts of your body, the treatment will become more aggressive, making early detection even more important for survival.
Effects on You
A question that lingers in most patients heads is how will this affect their day to day life once they overcome the cancer. Many fear that since they had cancer in one testicle, they are bound to have it in the remaining one. Others focus on the impact the treatment will have on their sex drive, fertility, and erections. While cancer survivors are twice as likely to receive “second cancer”, with the right information and awareness, survivors will be well equipped to catch it in the early stages and fight off the new cancer with greater odds. In regards to sex drive, a loss of labido is completely normal, and may not even be permanent. Luckily, there are many ways to treat a decrease in sex drive to help provide the most normal transition into your romantic relationships. However, if you’re struggling to hold an erection read how you can prevent and treat erectile dysfunction. Chemotherapy can also temporarily damage sperm, while high dosages and removal of both testicles will cause infertility. It is highly recommended to preserve your sperm prior going through treatment.
Knowledge is power, and becomes your greatest weapon of defense with diseases such as testicular cancer. Spreading awareness is the best way to support, battle, and ultimately eliminate testicular cancer.