YOUR HEALTH: Testicular cancer signs deadly to ignore

February is National Cancer Prevention month.
Published: Feb. 13, 2023 at 4:42 AM CST|Updated: Feb. 13, 2023 at 7:34 AM CST
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BOSTON, MA. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - February is National Cancer Prevention month. A good time to learn the cancer warning signs and steps we can take to lower cancer risk. For starters, did you know that testicular cancer is increasing among men, age 15 to 35? It’s a cancer that young men might overlook or, at first, ignore.

Two years ago, Fred Knight was just about to propose to his long-time sweetheart Kate. At age 26, cancer was the last thing he was thinking about.

Fred says, “I was at work and felt a sharp pain in my right testicle and never felt something like that before.”

Fred went to the local ER, and then to another doctor. Finally, a specialist gave him the diagnosis.

Fred had testicular cancer and would need surgery to remove one testicle. But first, this young couple had some whirlwind decisions to make.

“We knew that kids were in the future. We wanted that, but we were forced to think about it right then and there in that doctor’s office.” Explains Fred.

Atish Choudhury, MD, PhD, Genitourinary Oncologist, at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute says, “We do recommend all men who are going to get treatment for testicular cancer to bank sperm before they start on treatment, just to have that as a backup.”

Less than a week later, Fred had surgery. Four months later, the cancer came back, so doctors scheduled chemo.

Doctor Choudhury explains, “The chemotherapy for testicular cancer is very effective. It’s one of the cancers that you can cure completely with chemotherapy, even if it’s spread to other parts of the body.”

Chemo made Fred lose hair and gain weight, hitting 320 pounds on his six-foot-seven inch frame. But as he wrapped up treatment, Fred decided to prioritize his health.

“I found a local bike shop that had a massive, massive bike for me.” States Fred.

Fred now rides about 6,000 miles a year and he and Kate hike together. In fact, after a two-year delay, in April, Fred and Kate eloped to Yosemite national park.

Fred says “Don’t worry about wedding planning. Hire a photographer, go next to the waterfall, and say our vows to each other.”

After a two-year cancer journey, right now, it’s for better, not for worse.

Fred says, “The healthiest I’ve ever been in my life.”

Doctor Choudhury says the survival rate for testicular cancer is very high, about 95 percent, however, patients who have testicular cancer on one side have a two to four percent increased risk of developing cancer on the other side, so Doctor Choudhury says for those patients, it is important to undergo regular screening. Doctors also say testicular cancer is not always painful, so men should be aware of any lumps or swelling and should get anything unusual checked out.

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