With advocacy groups such as the Movember Foundation and stories like Lance Armstrong, who famously battled the disease, there are still many men who don’t understand the facts when it comes to testicular cancer. Medical oncologist Dr. Andrew Iliff and urologist Dr. Clay Mechlin break down some of the myths about testicular cancer.
Myth #1: Older men are at the highest risk for testicular cancer.
FACT: Most cancers tend to primarily affect older patients, but testicular cancer is different. It mainly strikes men in their teens, 20s and 30s. So, though it is unusual among all men, Dr. Iliff tells us, “It is the most common cancer in men between the ages of 15 and 40.”
Myth #2: Sexual behavior can lead to testicular cancer.
FACT: Doctors say there is no concrete evidence to back up this idea. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) may present a slightly higher risk for developing testicular cancer, but it is a very small “slightly higher” risk.
- A family history, or any history – If a male relative in close relation to you (such as a father or brother) has been diagnosed with testicular cancer, you’re at risk, too. If you’ve had testicular cancer in one testicle already, you have a much higher chance of seeing it show up in your other testicle as well.
- Health conditions – Having a hernia or mumps (from the virus that leads to a severe swelling of glands) can increase the chance you’ll develop testicular cancer. Repeated trauma to the scrotum area may also be a factor.
Myth #3: Testicular cancer is hard to treat.
FACT: “Testicular cancer is the single most curable solid cancer, with a cure rate of more than 95%,” Dr. Iliff says. It’s frequently caught early, but even if discovered at a later stage, this type of cancer is highly curable.
Myth #4: If I get testicular cancer, I won’t be able to have children after.
FACT: “This is true only in very rare cases,” says urologist and infertility specialist Dr. Mechlin. In the majority of cases, only one testicle is removed, so there is little change to fertility and sex drive.
What we do want men to know is that most testicular cancers are found by men themselves or their partners. Men should perform a self-examination once a month.
Looking for more information on testicular cancer?
Risk Factors: Health history can affect the risk of testicular cancer. Click here to view the risk factors of testicular cancer.
Signs and Symptoms: Signs and symptoms of testicular cancer include swelling or discomfort in the scrotum. Click here to learn more about signs and symptoms of testicular cancer.
Screening and Detection: Tests that examine the testicles and blood are used to detect (find) and diagnose testicular cancer. Click here learn more about tests and procedures for testicular cancer.