The month of April is celebrated as Testicular Cancer Awareness Month. As the most diagnosed cancer in young men, spreading awareness is of paramount importance. By knowing the signs of testicular cancer, men can diagnose the disease earlier, which improves survival rates. In fact, when treated early, 97% of men survive. As Testicular Cancer Awareness Month comes to an end, here are some important takeaways to keep in mind.
- More than 750 men were diagnosed with testicular cancer during the month of April
Over 9,000 men are diagnosed with testicular cancer on a yearly basis, which averages out to more than 750 diagnosis a month. In terms of population, this means that an estimated 1 in 250 men will be diagnosed with the disease during their lifetime. The most common ages for diagnosis are between ages 15 and 44, with an average age of 33. However, it is still possible to be diagnosed at a younger or older age outside of this range. At almost any stage of life, it is important to be aware of testicular cancer.
- More than 30 men died from testicular cancer in April
Roughly 400 men a year die from testicular cancer, which amounts to more than one a day. When the disease is caught in its earliest stages, there is a high likelihood of survival. However, as the cancer spreads, 5 year survival rates decrease. When the cancer spreads from the testicles to more distant organs and areas of the body, the survival rate drops to 74%. This may still be higher than other cancers, but the drop in survival rate is preventable with quick diagnosis.
- Monthly testicular self-exams can help identify lumps
In nine out of ten cases, the cancer presents itself as a lump in the testicles. In order to ensure quick diagnosis, it’s imperative to identify lumps in their earliest stages. The best method for doing this is a monthly testicular self-exam. The best time to perform one is after a warm bath or shower when the skin is loose. Take five minutes, and follow a guide for testicular self-exams to ensure you are checking thoroughly. Over time, you will become more in tune with your body. The monthly frequency should be enough to notice changes and catch lumps early on.
- Testicular cancer should not impact libido
In many cases, treatment will begin with the removal of the affected testicle. However, this should have no impact on libido or erections. Many men continue to lead healthy sex lives after recovery from treatment and/or chmoetherapy. Although uncommon, in some occasions both testicles will need to be removed. In this instance, testosterone replacement therapy will restore libido and erectile function. Symptoms of erectile dysfunction may still occur naturally, however.
- It is still possible to conceive children after testicular cancer
Even with one testicle, men may have enough sperm production to conceive a child. However, it’s not always a guarantee and fertility may take up to two years to fully return. In the uncommon occurrence that both testicles are removed, a man will be considered infertile. The best precaution a man can take to ensure that he is able to father children is to preserve sperm prior to beginning treatment. In vitro fertilization can always be an option if fertility never returns to normal.