April is Testicular Cancer Awareness Month, and although we should be staying on top of our health year-round, it’s a great time to spread the word about this disease. It’s important to not only celebrate the survivors and also remember those who lost their bout with TC, but also spread awareness and educate those on how to monitor yourself for TC, as well as the steps to take if a symptom is detected.
Did you know that testicular cancer is the most common cancer in males aged 15-34? Despite it being one of the more common cancers, it is also one of the most treatable forms of cancer there is. With a 99% survival rate when caught early, self-monitoring and checking is crucial. But that’s only the first step. Knowing how to check and what to look for are the first steps that take no time at all, and can be done in less than 60 seconds.
In an interview with the Testicular Cancer Foundation, they reiterated the importance of self-checks. “A simple self-exam can save time, money, unnecessary treatment and ultimately save a life.” Although it’s extremely important to monitor our health, self-checks are often forgotten. In many instances it is difficult to get men to the doctor when they are experiencing symptoms. However, for any symptoms related to testicular cancer, early detection is key. Self-checks (ideally performed monthly) are the most effective method of early detection. As we mentioned before, they take less than 60 seconds and can be performed in daily routines like taking a shower.
Below are some steps to monitor your health and perform a self-check.
- Check one testicle at a time
- Hold the testicle between your thumb and fingers of both hands and roll it gently between your fingers.
- If you notice any of these symptoms, see a urologist right away.
- Changes in size, shape, or consistency.
- Hard lumps.
- Smooth or rounded bumps.
If diagnosed, one’s life can be understandably turned upside down. A common stigma that men often face, is that testicular cancer can negatively impact their manhood. This mindset can make it difficult to ask for professional help. However, with proper treatment, one can quickly work towards a healthy recovery. As TCF confirms, “The good news is that after surgery, and the potential treatment, the majority of men return back to a normal healthy life including, recreation/hobbies, work, sex, and family life.”
Treatment and recovery can be tough, and will most certainly be a huge adjustment to daily life. However, with the nature of testicular cancer and it’s treatability and survival rate, there is a reason to be optimistic when the cancer is detected and diagnosed in the early stages. We recently interviewed Mike, a TC survivor who discussed the effects that treatments had on his life both during and after.
“It affected my day to day life rather significantly compared to what my “normal,” was/is. As a former collegiate rower and life-long CrossFitter, a large majority of my days were spent in the gym, or out being active. In fact, prior to the treatment, I do not remember taking more than a day off a week (maybe two if I was sick) for the previous 10 years, or so. So, being relegated to the couch/short walks for the first few weeks, then undergoing a second surgery and spending more time on the couch while lifting no more than a gallon of milk certainly threw things off. This love for fitness is something I share with my wife, and we spend a large majority of our time working out and being active together, so that was difficult as well.
However, all that being said, it was really, in the grand scheme of things, only three months of my life. My wife and I were (as I hope for all marriages) extremely close before this this experience, but it has only made us closer. I am making my way back in the fitness space, and have been seeing improvements beyond the shape I was in prior to surgery. I have been able to reflect on what truly makes me happy in life, and I understand myself more now than I ever did before. I am better because of it.”
Matters are in your own hands now, men. There are no known preventative measures that can be taken to avoid testicular cancer, but Dr. Anand Shridharani, male reproductive and prosthetic urologist with UT Erlanger Urology in Chattanooga, TN, still thinks we should stay on top of our health to keep ourselves on a good path: “There aren’t many thing that can be done to prevent testicular cancer other than living a healthy lifestyle and exercising. The key is to detect and treat these cancers early. That’s why performing testicular self-exam at least monthly is so important for all men in their teens and older.”
Here at Tommy John we are focused on spreading awareness about a disease that is not so regularly talked about and encourage men to be more open about their health. After all, we are in the business of supporting men. That’s why it was natural to partner with the Testicular Cancer Foundation. Throughout the month of April, we’ll be donating a portion of our sales from our limited edition boxer briefs to help fund testicular cancer research and care. We’d like to inspire all men, and have those who love them offer encouragement, to check themselves regularly and to consult your doctor knowing that it just might save your life!