Testicular cancer is the most common type of cancer among men 15 to 35 years old, but it can also affect younger boys and older men. For reasons not yet understood, the incidence of this type of cancer has increased considerably in recent years. Fortunately, if detected early it is one of the most treatable cancers. Discovered in most cases by chance, many survivors admit they didn’t exactly rush to seek help. By learning what the warning signs are, we can look out for the men in our life—big and small—and help them overcome this reluctance.
Men’s aversion to visiting the doctor is nothing to joke about and places them at serious risk when symptoms are ignored and doctor visits are delayed. The results of a survey conducted by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) show that over 50% of men had not received a physical exam in the previous year, approximately 20% did not get the recommended screening for their age and almost 30% said they “wait as long as possible” to see the doctor when they are ill, in pain or concerned about their health. Waiting, obviously, is not something you should do when cancer is involved.
A LIFE TAKEN EVERY DAY It is estimated some 7,920 men will be diagnosed with testicular cancer—and 370 will die of this disease—in the United States this year, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). Being the most common cancer to strike young men, it is by no means a frequent occurrence, with the lifetime chance of having testicular cancer currently at 1 in 270 (compared to breast cancer in women, with lifetime odds of 1 in 8). And since it is one of the most curable cancers, the chances of dying are as low as 1 in 5,000, says ACS.
There are two main types of testicular cancer, but both start when cells begin to grow out of control in one or both testicles.