It’s Testicular Cancer Awareness Month—a great opportunity to build awareness for this rare cancer that mostly affects young men. Today, it is a largely survivable disease. That’s why early detection is so important.
Testicular cancer is THE most common cancer in young men ages 20-35 years old.
- The average age at the time of diagnosis is 33 years old.
- This is largely a disease of young and middle-aged men. That said, about 7 percent of cases occur in children and teens and about 7 percent occur in men over the age of 55.
- White men are 4x more likely than black men to have testicular cancer.
- There is no known link between testicular cancer and injury to the testicles, sporting strains, hot baths, or wearing tight clothes.
- There is no standard screening for testicular cancer. Patients typically find it by chance or during self-exam. Or, a doctor find it during a routine physical exam. So check ’em!
- The number of new cases has doubled in the last 40 years, BUT the number of deaths has decreased greatly due to better treatments (Source: NCI). Even in the late stages of the disease, this cancer is curable.
- The five-year relative survival rate for men with localized testicular cancer is 99 percent. Men need less treatment the earlier we find testicular cancer, which improves outcomes.
- Risk factors include having an undescended testicle, or abnormal testicle, and having a family history of testicular cancer.
Men should talk to their physician if they have risk factors.
If you find a lump or bump in your testicles, tell your doctor immediately and get it checked out.
When localized, the treatment for testicular cancer is surgery. When caught early, no further treatment is necessary. Men can lead a perfectly normal life with the removal of one testicle. If caught later, treatment may involve chemotherapy and/or radiation, or additional surgery. Recent developments in genetic testing have increased our ability to target treatments and identify individuals with higher risk cancers, improving outcomes.
For more information about testicular cancer, including self-exam, visit UVM Cancer Center’s informational page.
If you are interested in learning more about men’s health and cancer, I invite you to join us for the Men’s Health and Cancer Conference, now in its third year and taking place on Friday, November 3, 2017. This is a free event dedicated to education around cancer prevention, screening, survivorship and overall health for men—although women are encouraged to attend as well. We will host talks for the public throughout the morning as well as some targeted talks for young men in the afternoon.
For more information about the event please visit www.vermontcancer.org.
Scott D. Perrapato, DO, FACOS, is a urologist and urologic oncologist at the UVM Medical Center and an associate professor at the Larner College of Medicine at UVM.