April is Testicular Cancer Awareness month.

April is Testicular Cancer Awareness month. The Testicular Cancer Awareness Foundation was formed October of 2009 with the mission of educating young men on the importance of early detection, and supporting those who are affected by this disease.
Testicular cancer is a disease in which cancer develops in one or both of the testicles. Testicular cancer can metastasize, meaning that it can spread to other parts of the body. During this time cells leave the original tumor from the testicle and migrate to other parts of the body through blood and lymph vessels forming new tumors. Testicular cancer spreads most often to the abdomen, liver, lungs, bones, and brain. Testicular cancer has a very fast onset.  If not detected early, the cancerous tumors can grow rapidly with the ability to double in size in just 10 to 30 days.  This type of rare cancer is on the rise and can affect any male from infancy to elderly. The warning signs and symptoms of testicular cancer are a lump of any size on the testicle, enlargement of the testicle, change in shape, size or any irregularities, pain or discomfort in the scrotum or testicle, a dull ache or sense of pressure in the lower abdomen or back, a feeling of heaviness or fullness in the scrotum, and enlargement or tenderness of the breasts due to elevated hormone levels. In most cases early stages of testicular cancer present themselves in a completely painless manner.

In the age group of 15 to 35 years old, more men will die of testicular cancer than women of breast cancer. Statistics say every hour a male is diagnosed with testicular cancer. If detected early, testicular cancer is the most curable cancer. The American Cancer Society’s estimates for testicular cancer in the United States for 2013 are about 7,920 new cases will be diagnosed and 370 men will die. The rate of testicular cancer has been increasing in the United States and many other countries. Experts have not been able to find reasons for this increase. Testicular cancer is not common; a man's lifetime chance of developing testicular cancer is about 1 in 270. Most young men, have never heard or learned how deadly testicular cancer can be. Testicular cancer awareness needs to be more know in our schools, from our medical professionals and within our families. Self-examination of the testes is important for early detection of testicular cancer. Ask your doctor how to do a self exam, it is simple and may save your life.  Men should do this self-exam monthly. If you notice a lump or any changes, you should seek medical advice and schedule an appointment immediately. Remember testicular cancer can spread very quickly and if detected early is one of the most curable cancers.

One young man in our community knows how serious this cancer can be. Anthony Regan had the shock of his life when he was diagnosed in August 2009 with Non-Seminomatous germ cell stage 3 Testicular cancer.  He was told the cancer had grown into innumerable masses including his liver, both lungs, spleen, abdomen, pelvis and back wall. Within one week, Anthony started a 12 week BEP regimen of chemo treatment. He then was under close watch monthly by his Oncologist Dr. Ana Gaba at Roger Maris Cancer Center in Fargo and Dr. Einhorn at the IU Simon Cancer Center in Indianapolis Indiana. The cancer recurred in April 2012 causing him to endure a stem cell transplant at IU Indianapolis. He spent the next two months as an inpatient. Anthony’s family had comfort in knowing his doctors were top USA specialist in Testicular cancer.

Anthony returned home on July 20. On November 8, Anthony returned to IU Indianapolis hospital to have a very rare surgery called a Retroperitoneal Lymph Node Dissection. Anthony has now regained his strength and living life normal. He and his family believe in prayer, in hopes to say, he will be cured in the next year. Anthony’s mother Brenda says “Anthony’s body has been through a lot in the past three years, it was rough but he did remarkably well during it all”. “We are so thankful for the community support and prayers given to Anthony in the past years.”

Anthony plans to walk in his first Relay for Life in Devils Lake as a cancer survivor. His mom wishes young men will educate themselves on testicular cancer and learn self- exams. There are many internet sites where you can search and learn more of testicular cancer or ask your doctor.