We hear so much in the marketplace about breast cancer, but very little about testicular cancer. Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in males ages 15-35, and it is 99 percent treatable if caught in its early stages.
But just as most men procrastinate about their health, I originally procrastinated writing this blog post. As the Development Director at the Testicular Foundation (TCF), I started to think, “How do I do my job? What makes me so passionate about the work TCF does?” The answer is that every hour a young male is diagnosed testicular cancer, and we lose a man every day that could be saved. It is also that I have been around testicular cancer survivors and have heard their stories. I know that most of them didn’t think cancer would happen to them. They thought having a swollen ball was funny or that back pain was nothing and it would just go away.
These survivor stories motivate me to work every day to spread the TCF message that detection is key and knowledge is power. Know that you’re talking about BALLS, so get the giggles out of the way and then get real.
As women, we tend to take care of ourselves; we get annual checkups, do self-examinations and know the signs that there’s something amiss or we just don’t feel right. We check our breasts, are diligent about doctor visits and always want to make right what is wrong.
But how well do you know your man? His body? Does he book doctor’s appointments? Do you encourage overall body self-examination and overall wellness? And what about your sons, if you have them? Other than a routine physical (checking for hernias and the prostate, I might add) do the males in your life know about self-examinations and testicular cancer?
My boss, Matt, was 22 years old and finishing college. He had his whole life ahead of him and then heard those three horrific words “You have cancer.” That left him with so many questions. “What is cancer?” “What’s the pain like?” “Will I live?” “Will I have kids?”
This is a heavy weight and the unknown of it all is absolutely draining. Draining for the patient, but just as draining for the loved ones—the brothers who are scared they could be next, the sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins and the parents who think, how could I have prevented this? Why didn’t I know?
Now a five-year survivor, married and with a child on the way, Matt is more passionate than he was when he first heard those three words. Here are some tips on how you can know more about testicular and be a champion, too.
1. Get smart and learn about testicular cancer.
2. Spread the word by using shower cards .
3. Have the conversation with your husband, your son, your brother – any male in your life between the ages of 15-35 years.
4. Tweet and post – find out more at www.TesticularCancer.org.
5. Most importantly, self-examinations lead to early detection.