April is testicular cancer awareness month
The Cancer Association of Namibia (CAN) has announced that April is testicular awareness month and said even though it accounts for only 1.2% of all cancers in males, it accounts for about 11% to 13% of all cancer deaths of men between the ages of 15 to 35.
Chief Executive Officer at CAN, Rolf Hansen said it is very important that boys and men between 10 to 35 learn to do a monthly self-examination of the testes to feel and pick up any lumps, pea-size growths or irregularities and report to their health practitioners.
Hansen said testes are 2 small organs that are found inside the scrotum and are responsible for making sperm and are also involved in producing a hormone called testosterone the common cause of testicular cancer is undescended testicles, family history, body size and previous testicular cancer.
“HIV infection, carcinoma in situ of the testicle and being of a certain race or ethnicity are also risk factors for testicular cancer, because caucasian men have a five times greater risk of developing testicular cancer than black men, and a three times greater risk compared with Asian, Latino and African men,” added Hansen.
He said symptoms of testicular cancer include a painless lump or swelling on either testicle, pain, discomfort or numbness in a testicle or the scrotum with or without swelling, change in the way a testicle feels or a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum, dull ache in the lower abdomen or groin, sudden build-up of fluid in the scrotum, breast tenderness or growth, lower back pain, shortness of breath, chest pain and bloody sputum or phlegm and swelling of 1 or both legs or shortness of breath form a blood clot.
“Researchers have investigated and found there is no link between vasectomy, injury to the testicles, tobacco, alcohol and diet to a higher risk of testicular cancer, therefore the cancer of developing testis cancer is about one in 270, fortunately, the cure rate is excellent, which is 95% greater for all men with testis cancer,” emphasised Hansen.
He further stated that testicular cancer or its treatment can make you infertile, therefore before treatment starts, men who might want to father children need to consider storing sperm in a sperm bank for later use.
“Treatment options and recommendations depend on several factors, including the type and stage of cancer possible side effects and the patient’s preference and overall health, therefore if there is a high suspicion that cancer might be a testicular choriocarcinoma, chemo may be started without a biopsy or surgery to remove the testicle, but for recurrent testicular cancer, treatment usually includes chemotherapy and surgery,” concluded Hansen.