April is officially known as “Testicular Cancer Awareness Month.”
Why do we set aside a whole month to the cause of bringing awareness to testicular cancer?
The reason for doing this is to ensure that more men are aware of the risks for this disease and to also educate them on this subject. The main point that we need to stress this month and every month is that men need to perform examinations on their testicles on a regular basis.
Testicular cancer is not the type of cancer that is spoken about most often in the media and elsewhere. Besides that, there are very few people who have known anyone who has been diagnosed with the disease. The American Cancer Society has stated that only 9,310 men will receive this diagnosis this year in the United States. Out of the 9,310, the medical community believes that 400 of them will pass away from the disease. As we explore this further, this means that one in every 250 men will develop the disease at some point in their lives.
In recent decades, diagnoses of testicular cancer have been increasing in the United States and throughout the world.
Those most at risk for this disease are young males, so testicular cancer is considered to be a young man’s disease. Most men who receive this diagnosis range in age from 15 years old to 39 years old. In addition, men 20 to 34 who are diagnosed with cancer have been diagnosed with testicular cancer in the greatest numbers. On average, men learn that they have developed testicular cancer at the age of 33. Testicular cancer is only diagnosed in 9 percent of men who are over the age of 50.
Dr. David Samadi is the appropriate person to ask about testicular cancer because he has several years of education and experience on the subject. He attended Stony Brook University where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. He moved on to Stony Brook School of Medicine where he earned his M.D. degree in 1994. His next stop was at Montefiore Medical Center where he received postgraduate training in urology. He obtained postgraduate training in proctology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and completed this training in 1996. Dr. David Samadi also received postgraduate training in proctology at Montefiore Medical Center in 2000.
The Function of the Testicles
The scrotum contains the testicles or testes, and they are the most important part of a man’s reproductive system. They are classified as “glands,” and they produce testosterone and sperm. When abnormal cells begin to reproduce themselves at a rapid rate within the testes, testicular cancer is the result.
Who Is at Risk for Testicular Cancer?
A risk factor is something that increases the chance that you will develop a disease, but research has not shown that testicular cancer has very many risk factors. Even so, there are men who have an increased risk of developing testicular cancer, and they are the following:
- White males develop the disease 5-10 times more often than Black males.
- Men of Asian, Latino and Native American descent are also more likely to develop testicular cancer than Black males.
- Males who have a testicle that did not descend into the scrotum are at risk.
- Men with other males in their family who have been diagnosed with testicular cancer are at an increased risk.
- Men who have been diagnosed as HIV positive are at risk.
- Men who have Klinfelter’s Syndrome, an ailment that causes the testicles to be underdeveloped are at risk.
- Those who have been diagnosed with testicular cancer in the past remain at risk for a future diagnosis.
— Dr. David Samadi (@drdavidsamadi) April 3, 2018
The Signs that Testicular Cancer May Be Present
Most men discover swelling or a lump in their testicles that doesn’t cause any pain, and these lumps can even be as small as a pea. If there is swelling, it usually feels like the skin has abnormally thickened.
The following are also symptoms of the disease:
- The feeling that the scrotum is heavy
- A bloated lower abdomen
- A difference in the way the testicle feels
- A difference in the testicle’s size
- Pain in the groin, scrotum, lower abdomen or back
If a change is noticed in the testicles, a man needs to contact his primary care physician immediately. If this cancer is found in its earliest stage, the man is more likely to survive and experience a full recovery.
How Is Testicular Cancer Diagnosed and Treated?
A physician will diagnose testicular cancer by performing an examination with his or her hands. A blood test will also be taken to determine if the proteins and enzymes that cancerous tumors release into the bloodstream are present. The physician can also perform an ultrasound scan that uses sound waves that allow the doctor to see the organ. Then, he or she can find where the tumor is located and determine its size.
In the event that a cancerous tumor is found, the physician will operate on the patient. After the surgery, the patient may receive chemotherapy alone or chemotherapy with radiation therapy. When this type of cancer is discovered early, a man has a very good chance of surviving. A very important point for him to discuss with his doctor is how chemotherapy and radiation therapy will affect his chances of fathering a child.
Physicians can only determine if a tumor is cancerous if it is removed so that it can be tested. In most cases, the whole testicle must be excised from the body. Because 99 percent of men who have had testicular cancer only had it in one testicle, they have enough testosterone in their systems to be as masculine as they were before the surgery. They can also maintain their beards, deep voices and sex drives.
Dr. David Samadi knows something about treating cancer as the Chief of Robotic Surgery and the Chairman of Urology at Lenox Hill Hospital. He even developed his own technique for treating prostate cancer, and he called it “Samadi Modified Advanced Robotic Technique” or SMART. This technique is a minimally invasive way to remove the prostate and treat cancer. Because the surgery can be done with the smallest incisions and the smallest instruments, the patient does not experience as much pain, loss of blood or extended recovery times.