Now that Easter and April Fools Day is out of the way, it is time to focus on testicular cancer according to the Movember Foundation. As part of the Testicular Cancer Awareness Month, the foundation is encouraging men to “Know Thy Nuts” in a somewhat risque ad campaign that isn’t afraid to call a spade a spade.
According to Movember Foundation, about 70 percent of all men do not perform regular self-checks of their testicles. However, it is testicular cancer that is the most common in the United States for men between the ages 15 and 44. Just as women are encouraged to do self breast exams to look and feel for lumps, so are men with their testicles, which can help a great deal with survival. If you notice a lump, a change, or something different that wasn’t there before, it’s time to see the doctor.
“With testicular cancer, it really is so important to understand what feels normal for you, and to go see a doctor if something changes. Most of the time, testicular cancer presents as a lump or pain in the testicle, an increase in size or change in the way a testicle feels,” says Sam Gledhill, Global Director Testicular Cancer at the Movember Foundation. “An action as simple as knowing what feels normal and getting some medical advice if things change can, quite literally, save lives.”
Justin Birckbichler knows exactly what the good doctor is talking about.
“There was definitely something there” he says in a recent press release from Movember regarding his testicular cancer. “There were two masses. One was like a frozen pea. The other was like that thing in the movie Alien. You know? The one that attaches to people’s faces. That’s what the second one was like.”
Birckbichler was 25-years-old and, at the time, couldn’t find very good resources for hope or encouragement.
“There didn’t seem to be a lot out there. You go on Google, and think you’re going to die tomorrow,” says Birckbichler. “I knew the smart thing was to have the surgery. But I wasn’t emotionally ready to handle that” he explains. “You don’t have time to process things. It’s just bam, bam, bam.”
For 33-year-old Brendon Moohin from Australia, the experience was similar.
“I went to the emergency room on Sunday night and by Wednesday I’d had surgery,” says Moohin. But it didn’t have to be that way. There were signs ahead of time for the avid biker.
“At the time, I was doing a fair bit of running. I had a little bit of pain in my testicles, but I thought it was just part of getting fit. It wasn’t until the pain became unbearable — when I was sick, I was cold, when the pain and shock started to set in – that I went to the doctor. And that’s when it was game on.”
It is estimated that 9,310 men in America will be diagnosed with testicular cancer this year. Fortunately for them, they have the guys at the Movember Foundation. This month the foundation is launching a new website, truenth-tc.org, as a resource for men at different stages of cancer and give them a place where they can share their experiences with others online. TrueNTH was designed by men who have been through the experience and want to give hope to others. Below is Ben’s story.
Some things that Movember wants to stress to men this year.
- Self-check your testicles at least once a month. If something feels off, go see your doctor. Download a simple guide here.
- Men with undescended testes or have a family history of testicular cancer have an increased risk of getting the disease themselves.
- If you have had testicular cancer before, you could get it again.
- Testicular cancer is highly treatable, but the sooner is it caught, the easier the recovery time will be.
- Even with the removal of one testicle (if needed) you should still be able to have sex and father children.