Monday, November 6, 2017

Men's Health: This Movember, learn all about testicular cancer

Don't just grow a beard this No-Shave November. Dedicated to spreading awareness about men's health issues, especially cancer, Movember says learn all about testicular cancer

When to check
A check-up for testicular cancer has to be done when symptoms get manifested. Regular check-ups can be done by those who have been treated in childhood for un-descended testis. It can develop irrespective of age. A good self-examination is recommended. Among younger boys, examination can be done by parents while giving them a bath. Visit a doctor when in doubt.

Speak up
Men have been known to be reluctant to discuss medical symptoms with close ones and doctors. Many men ignore the symptoms till the disease reaches an advanced stage. Good screening programmes and frank discussions with you partner or a close family member will help in early diagnosis as testicular cancers are male specific and related to fertility and the reproductive tract. Encourage the men around you to open up about their problems and seek medical aid. Constant positive support is also needed for men who have been treated for these to return to a normal life.

Importance of early detection
Ignorance is the main cause of many cancer deaths in India, especially among the uneducated, and in some semi-urban and rural areas. Detection of cancer in early stages has proved that it can be cured in more than 90 per cent of cases. It is the cornerstone of disease management and cure.

Myth buster
Myth no 1: Most often men, and parents and family members of children, ignore a scrotal swelling and call it an extra testicle. Usually, any testicular swelling causing enlargement is considered as enhanced manliness.
Myth no 2: This condition is often treated as a Hydrocele, i.e. a sac of water surrounding the testis. It is considered to be a non-cancerous condition that is more common.
Myth no 3: Vasectomy leads to cancer of the testis or prostate.
Myth no 4: Testicular cancer is an old man's disease.
Myth no 5: Testicular injury causes cancer.
Myth no 6: Cancer ends your sex life.
Myth no 7: Testicular cancer will disappear on its own.

Warning signs
The warning signs of testicular cancer are a painless lump in the scrotum or painless increase in size of the testis; and ultrasonography showing microlithiasis in testis.

Like most cancers, it is linked to tobacco, obesity and eating unhealthy food. Chronic infections and family history also contribute to testicular cancer. Other causes include un-descended testis, history of cancer in one testis, genetic causes (Testicular Dysgenesis Syndrome).

They battled it
Former road racing cyclist Lance Armstrong captured the world's attention by being a seven-time Tour de France winner, while battling testicular cancer. He founded the Lance Armstrong Foundation to help cancer survivors.

He was later stripped of his titles due to doping allegations. Rapper singer Jaime Luis Gomez aka Taboo of popular hip-hop group The Black Eyed Peas was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2014. The artiste is now cancer-free. Pics/AFP

Inputs by Dr Ganesh Bakshi, professor and convenor, Department of Uro oncology, Tata Memorial Hospital; Dr Sumit Mehta, consultant urologist and andrologist, Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi; Dr Anil Heroor, Oncosurgeon, Fortis Hospital, Mulund.

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