Testicular cancer targets young men

Researchers reported that testicular cancer commonly affects males between the ages of 15 and 35, yet not many males are aware that it exists.

“No one is going to know about the high rate of testicular cancer in males unless someone tells us about it, or if it hits close to home,” said Brian Perry, 22, a senior biology pre-med student from Jacksonville.

The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2006, 8,250 cases of testicular cancer will be diagnosed.

The Testicular Cancer Research Center said that no one truly knows what the causes of testicular cancer are, but some men are at a greater risk than others.

The TCRC explained that whatever causes an undescended testicle in a male is what increases their risk.

Cleo Stafford, 22, a chemistry student from Miami wants to become a radiologist that deals with treating cancer patients. Stafford said he is not shocked that cancer can make its presence in the genital area because he knows that cancer is formed due to the unusual growth of one of the many cells in the human body.

“Cancer is the uncontrollable growth of a cell,” Stafford said. “You can pretty much get cancer in almost anywhere in your body.”

The good news is that TCRC experts said that testicular cancer is curable if detected early, and the disease will respond effectively to treatment even if the cancer has spread to other body parts.

Although Stafford is not surprised that cancer can exist in other parts of the body such as the genitals, he believes that the news of any cancer diagnoses at a young age can still be frightful.

“It’s still alarming when you find out because when you think of people who have cancer, you think of people who have been around for at least fifty years because they have put so many stresses on their body,” Stafford said.

The TCRC said that although it is a rare disease, all men should be educated on its reality and be aware of its symptoms. The TCRC said symptoms include a lump in either testicle, an enlargement of a testicle or simply a change in the consistency of a testicle.

The researchers at the center also add that symptoms could be a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum, a dull ache in the lower abdomen, a collection of fluid in the scrotum or even feelings of pain or discomfort in the testicle or scrotum.

Corinne Rubin, a community representative from the American Cancer Society in Tallahassee, focuses on males and their family history of the disease.

“If testicular cancer is in your family history, it is your responsibility to talk to a doctor and discuss the risks you may face and the preventative measures that will need to be taken,” Rubin said.

TCRC researchers said that when a male patient has an examination it includes an ultra sound, a chest x-ray and a blood and urine test.

The researchers explain that if the ultra sound shows a solid mass in the testicles, then doctors would believe the tumor to be cancerous because most of them are.

However, experts warn patients to be cautious when getting an early checkup because doctors miss the testicular cancer the first time around about 30 percent of the time.

On the other hand, the TCRC described that the future for men who have testicular cancer is looking brighter.

Researchers said that they have discovered better ways to diagnose and treat the disease and the United States is also continuing to study the disease to get a greater knowledge on its causes.

For more information, go to http://tcrc.acor.org/tcprimer.html.