Men, young and old, listen up! The major health risks for ALL men include both prostate cancer and testicular cancer. The good news is that both cancers have high cure rates and can be successfully treated, as long as the cancer is detected early and has not spread to other parts of the body.
A Primer on Prostate Cancer
Even though prostate cancer is one of the most diagnosed cancers in America, on average men have only a three percent risk of actually dying from the disease. Prostate cancer occurs in the prostate gland, the gland that produces the fluid that makes up semen. Tumors are often slow-growing and highly treatable. However, patients sometimes experience no symptoms until the cancer has spread. Thus, early detection by your doctor is important. Treatments for prostate cancer include: chemotherapy, surgery and radiation.
It’s important for you to get your prostate checked. The American Urological Association recommends you discuss the benefits and limitations of these tests with your doctor:
A digital rectal exam (DRE) once a year after age 40, or earlier if you are having symptoms. Although some men consider this test embarrassing, it is a quick, simple procedure that could save your life.
A PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood test once a year for men over 50 or earlier for men in high risk groups, such as African-Americans or those with a family history of prostate problems.
If you have a positive DRE or PSA, your doctor may order a biopsy to determine if cancer is involved.
A Take on Testicular Cancer
Compared with other types of cancer, testicular cancer is rare and also highly treatable. Testicular cancer occurs in the testicles (testes), which are located inside the scrotum, a loose bag of skin underneath the penis. The testicles produce male sex hormones and sperm for reproduction. The most common symptom of testicular cancer is a painless lump on or in a testicle.
Screening tests are very important in the early detection of the disease. Screenings include having a health provider check a man’s testicles during a routine physical exam, and self-exams at home. It is recommended that all men examine their testicles monthly after puberty, and immediately see a doctor if they find a lump in a testicle.
Now, when it comes to discussing prostate cancer and testicular cancer, it is important to keep an open dialog with your doctor and not to be embarrassed to talk about these topics.