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Healthy Living: Testicular Cancer
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According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately one out of 300 men will develop testicular cancer at some point of their life and about 50 percent of them will be under the age of 34.
"If there is any mass or any change in the testes, the young man should go to a primary care doctor who will then probably immediately send them to a urologist," urologist Dr. Andrew McCullough said.
According to McCullough, even if testicular cancer is caught late, it's often curable. The mass, if found, is often painless.
"Usually it is kind of a pebble within the spongy testes," McCullough said.
An ultrasound often determines if there is a mass.
"It will tell us the size of this tumor. It will not tell us the type of tumor it is," McCullough said.
The cause seems to be some type of genetic defect.
"Eighty percent of testicular cancer can be cured by simple removal of the testicle. There are some cancers that are sensitive to radiation, there some cancers that are sensitive to chemotherapy," McCullough said.
Post cancer fertility usually can be preserved.
"Most men will have enough sperm to have a baby, whether it is with IVF or inter-uterine insemination. We can actually freeze sperm, freeze semen before surgery and then use those afterwards," McCullough said.
There's no way to prevent testicular cancer, but some doctors recommend regular self-examinations. If you have a young boy who sees a pediatrician, be sure to ask their doctor to be sure they have discussed it with your child.
“A self exam the young or body will be doing themselves and every pediatrician should be telling their patents they should examine themselves on a regular basis. Best time to do it is when things are relaxed in the shower,” McCullough said.