The words “you have cancer” are some of the most dreaded in any language. But one phrase may pack more of a punch for men. That is, “You have testicular cancer.”
Testicular cancer is relatively rare, and is highly treatable. But it usually affects men between 15-35. In other words, it strikes a demographic that may assume cancer only happens to older people. And younger men may be less likely to see a doctor regularly.
If you notice a lump, pain or anything unusual in a testicle, you should get it checked by a medical professional. As with any cancer, the sooner you catch it the better your chances of successful treatment.
Your testicles make sperm and hormones, including testosterone.
If cells inside your testicle begin to grow abnormally, they can form a cancerous mass (tumor). As cancerous cells continue to multiply, the tumor can grow larger. It may spread outside of the testicle.
Symptoms of testicular cancer include:
Teenage boys and men should perform regular testicular self-exams. When you’re familiar with the look and feel of your scrotum and testicles, you can identify lumps and other abnormal changes that need follow-up.
If you have testicular cancer, chances are you also have a lot of questions. Many men wonder if they’ll lose a testicle. They also ask whether cancer treatments can affect sexual performance or fertility.
At Mercy, we understand what you’re going through. That’s why we offer more than just medical treatment for our cancer patients. We also offer resources to help you come to terms with your diagnosis, and support you through recovery.
Your treatment strategy will depend on several factors. These include the stage of your cancer and whether it has spread. Your doctor may recommend you have one or more types of treatment, including:
Some cancer treatments, including chemotherapy and radiation, can temporarily or permanently impact fertility. If you’re concerned about having children, talk to your Mercy physician. He or she can recommend options to preserve healthy sperm before you begin treatment.
It goes without saying that cancer takes a toll on your health and well-being. But with the right expertise and encouragement, you can put cancer behind you—and look forward to new beginnings.