Men’s Health Network (MHN) has joined with other cancer organizations to form an awareness coalition to recognize Testicular Cancer Awareness Month. During April, these organizations are calling for increased research and greater awareness of the challenges facing testicular cancer patients, survivors, and their loved ones.
Testicular cancer is the most common cancer among men between 15 and 35 years old but has one of the highest survival rates, if found early. That’s what makes prevention techniques and overall awareness critically important. This year alone, in the U.S., more than 9,000 men will be diagnosed with the disease, according to the American Cancer Society. An estimated 400 deaths occurred in the U.S. last year due to the disease.
“It’s crucial for young men (15-35) to know that this is the leading cause of cancer for their age group and remains treatable if caught early,” said Ana Fadich, MPH, CHES, Vice President at MHN. “Even so, survivors still need support after a testicular cancer diagnosis, because it's a huge impact on daily life. That is why awareness is essential in reaching younger men who may not receive cancer prevention messages.”
The Testicular Cancer Coalition, which includes Men’s Health Network, the Men’s Health Initiative, the Testicular Cancer Society, ChapCare and the Testicular Cancer Foundation, continues to rally around improving the quality of life for testicular patients and survivors, while bringing awareness to their issues and calling on stronger tools to assess their health and wellbeing.
Survivors have increased risks of anxiety, depression, heart disease, short and long-term memory loss, among other health concerns, as a result of having testicular cancer. This is in addition to issues of impotence, incontinence, or loss of libido; current assessment tools are methodologically too weak to detect these problems.
"The assumption is that life after treatment for males and their families affected by testicular cancer returns to normal,” said Michael Rovito, Ph.D., of the Men's Health Initiative (MHI) an affiliate partner of MHN. "Most times, it's quite the opposite scenario unfolding. These families have lifelong wellness concerns stemming directly from the treatment of testicular cancer that occurred years, even decades, prior. I'm proud that MHI is partnering with this group to lead the way to develop more impactful research and conduct more effective outreach among testicular cancer survivors to improve their quality of life."
In the U.S., men continue to be placed at unnecessary risk due to the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force’s (USPSTF) decision to recommend against testicular self-exams and against testicular cancer exams in a clinical setting. Compounding this problem is the failure of the Affordable Care Act to provide regular preventive healthcare visits for men as are provided for women.
“In my four decades of practice, I have found testicular exams and TSE—especially when paired with the oversight of a trusted primary care provider—to be quite valuable,” said Gregory Pecchia, MD, an advisor to Men’s Health Network. “These exams yielded probable lifesaving early detection.”
The TesticularCancerAwarenessMonth.com website helps educate people about risk factors, warning signs, and treatment options for the disease. The site offers videos, a social media toolkit, downloadable brochures, research articles, and examples of awareness activities to turn a difficult-to-discuss problem into an interactive and easier-to-approach learning experience.
During the month, Men’s Health Network and its coalition partners will be telling the stories of testicular cancer patients and survivors, offering interviews from patients and health experts. Men’s Health Network will also hold a Twitter chat the week of April 23 to further promote testicular cancer awareness to a wider audience.