I almost lost my husband to testicular cancer. Not once, but twice. The first time was when he was 31 years old and our daughter was 11 months old. Then second time she was 16. As he says: “Don’t have to worry about that anymore – I’m out of balls!” Funny? Maybe, since our story had a happy ending. Not everyone is as blessed.
Statistics show that every hour of everyday a young man is diagnosed with testicular cancer. Every hour, folks. That’s a lot of young men who are just starting life and this disease will snuff it out and cut it off at the pass if left to it own devices. And every day a young man dies from testicular cancer. Every day a father, son, brother, cousin, friend dies from testicular cancer. Every day there is a needless loss of life because we think it’s not proper or is embarrassing to talk about private parts, it’s uncomfortable, and besides young people don’t get cancer. But they do and the only shameful part is not letting every male on planet earth know about what to do to insure that they have a very long and healthy life.
Those are the facts, folks.
But we can change those facts. Just by talking about it. Get the word out to anyone who has testicles and anyone who knows and loves someone with testicles that they need to check their balls (I know that’s blunt but I have your attention, right? So stay with me on this). And if they find something or feel something, go to the doctor. Don’t wait to see if it might go away. Testicular cancer usually strikes men between the ages of 15 -35 but can occur at any age. Caught early, it is treatable and curable. Left untreated it becomes a menacing threat to the lives of those we love. The Testicular Cancer Society (TCS) does an incredible job of bringing awareness to this disease which cancer societies don’t spend much time on because not enough men are dying from it. Really? What constitutes “enough people”? The loss of one man – a brother, a father, cousin, and friend – is one too many to my way of thinking.
Want to help? If you have son, teach them at puberty to check their equipment (see how below). Next talk to those around you and tell them about testicular cancer and how to prevent the unnecessary loss of life. Show them this blog, go on the TCS website www.testicularcancersociety.org, and if necessary nag them. They even have a “Ball Check” App for your cell phone. No excuses. No apologies. Just do it!
With early detection testicular cancer is almost 100% survivable but lack of awareness leads to late diagnosis and unfortunate outcomes. The lack of awareness and education is one of the biggest challenges we have in the fight against testicular cancer.
Thad and I were blessed with early detection and good doctors. We will celebrate our 42nd wedding anniversary this year and he has watched his daughter grow up, get married and make him a grandfather twice over. Help make the men in your life just as blessed.
Its springtime and ball season, folks. April is Testicular Cancer Awareness month. Please make sure you and the men in your life have the information that could save a life. Talk about testicular cancer.
p.s. If the content of this blog offends some of my readers, I am sorry. Well, no I am not. Because if it educates and brings awareness to this problem, then a life will have been saved and this blog post will have done the job I hoped it would do.
HOW TO DO A MONTHLY TESTICULAR SELF-EXAM
- Best done after a warm shower or bath, when your scrotum is relaxed. If possible, stand in front of a mirror. Check for any swelling on the scrotal skin.
- Examine each testicle with both hands. Place your index and middle fingers under the testicle with the thumbs placed on top. Firm but gently roll the testicle between your thumbs and fingers to feel for any irregularities on the surface or texture of the testicle.
- Find the epididymis, a soft rope-like structure on the back of the testicle. If you are familiar with this structure, you won’t mistake it for a suspicious lump.
Testicular Self-Exam Instructions and Reminders can be found on the Testicular Cancer Society website: For a free mobile app: go to www.BallChecker.com. For monthly text reminders: text @selfexam to 81010
If you notice any testicular lumps, bumps or irregularities see a doctor right away. Please keep in mind that not all lumps or irregularities are cancerous, however, only a doctor can make that determination. Waiting to see if it will go away will not help. There are guys that can have testicular cancer but not notice any changes in their testicle(s). That is why it is important to also know the other signs and symptoms of testicular cancer and contact your doctor if you are experiencing any of them.
Information provided by the Testicular Cancer Society. www.testicular cancersociety,org