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100 men in B.C. expected to be diagnosed with testicular cancer each year

April is Testicular Cancer Month and a B.C. researcher is reminding people to be proactive
Dr. Lucia Nappi said that testicular cancer is malignant and can be deadly if left untreated, but in 80 per cent of cases, the cancer is stopped at stage one. (Photo Supplied/BC Cancer)

It is time to grab life by the testicles and check for abnormalities, as April is Testicular Cancer Month.

“It is a cancer of young men,” said Doctor Lucia Nappi, a research fellow with BC Cancer.

Unlike other cancerous tumours, testicular cancer affects men aged 15-45 and gets less common as men get older, Nappi said.

“Aging is not a risk factor. It’s a protective factor.”

Nappi said esticular cancer is not as common as prostate cancer or breast cancer. But B.C. is likely to see 100 new cases each year, and for younger men, it is the most common cancer.

It is essential to do regular checks, and doing a check once a month is a great way to understand what is and isn’t standard. Nappi said that way if anything changes over time, you will be able to notice.

Nappi said that if a lump or abnormality is found, boys and men should contact their local healthcare provider to set up an ultrasound.

About 80 per cent of all incidents of testicular cancer are treated at stage one, where the tumour is usually isolated to one testicle and is removed. If a testicle is removed, it will not affect sexual performance or the ability to have children, said Nappi.

There is evidence that testicular cancer starts before a baby is born and that some of the events that help it grow happen at the fetal stage.

“So there is an alteration in the DNA of these tumor cells and the cancer develops very early on.”

Checking with a trusted friend, partner, or relative is also an option if you find a lump, but Nappi said there might be cultural constraints.

“For cultural reasons, we have had some patients who do not talk to anyone…These patients ended up dying of testicular cancer.”

About the Author: Thomas Eley

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