Health Alert – Testicular Cancer

Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men between 20 and 34 years old. It is a disease in which cancer forms in one or both testicles. The testicles are 2 egg-shaped glands inside the scrotum (a sac of loose skin that lies directly below the penis). They are the male sex glands that make testosterone and sperm.

Risk Factors

There are factors that raise a man’s risk of getting this disease:

  • An undescended testicle – One or both testicles don’t move from the abdomen into the scrotum during fetal development.
  • Certain types of moles – An unusual condition that causes many spots or moles on the back, chest, abdomen and face.
  • HIV Infection – Men infected with HIV have an increased risk, especially true for men who have AIDS.
  • Carcinoma in situ (CIS) – CIS is a condition in which germ cells grow into a tumor but does not yet invade normal tissues. CIS in the testicles may become cancer over a number of years and does not cause a lump or any symptoms.
  • Young age – Young men have a higher risk of getting testicular cancer. It is the most common cancer between the ages of 20 to 34, the second most common cancer between the ages of 35 to 39, and the third most common cancer between the ages of 15 to 19.
  • A personal history of testicular cancer – Men who already had testicular cancer have a higher risk of developing a tumor in the other testicle.
  • A family history of testicular cancer – Men with a family history of testicular cancer may have a higher risk of developing testicular cancer.
  • Congenital abnormalities – Men born with abnormalities of the testicles, penis, or kidney, as well as those with a hernia in the groin area, where the thigh meets the abdomen, may be at increased risk.

Signs

Possible signs of testicular cancer include:

  • a painless lump or swelling in either testicle
  • heaviness or aching in the abdomen or scrotum
  • pain or discomfort in a testicle or in the scrotum
  • dull ache in the lower back, abdomen, or groin

 Treatment

If testicular cancer is found, the treatment depends on the stage of the cancer. Three standard treatments are used:

  • Surgery. Surgery removes the testicle and some of the lymph nodes (organs that fight infection). Tumors that have spread to other places in the body may be partly or entirely removed by surgery.
  • Radiation therapy. High-energy x-rays or other types of radiation kill cancer cells.
  • Chemotherapy. Drugs are used to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping the cells from dividing.

Self Exam

Most men find the cancer in their testicles themselves. This fast and simple exam can help you find this cancer early. Do the exam after a warm bath or shower every month. Also ask your health care provider to do a testicular exam as part of your regular checkup.   

The Testicular Cancer Resource Center provides information about how to do a testicular cancer self examination.  Go to http://tcrc.acor.org/tcexam.html for more information. 

For more information, go to…

National Cancer Institute: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/sites-types/testicular

Gay Men and Unprotected Sex in the Age of HIV/AIDS

From The Body

According to many studies, anywhere from 12 to 46 percent of men who have anal sex with other men in the U.S. are doing so without condoms — and meanwhile, for many gay men, HIV prevention messages have become like broken records.

On the other hand, when you look at nearly 30 years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, which has taken such a devastating toll on the gay community — many of whose members already fight homophobia, rejection by their families and lack of recognition by the state on a daily basis — perhaps the more appropriate question becomes: How could gay men not be exhausted by the prospect of protecting themselves each and every time they have sex?

In this discussion moderated by blogger fogcityjohn, a psychologist, a public-health veteran and an HIV education researcher, hash out from their own perspectives the many factors that lead gay men to engage in unprotected anal sex — and what needs to be done about it.

You can find a transcript and the full audio on TheBody.com

HIV [is still a] Big Deal

“The core component of the HIV Big Deal project is a series of 10-minute video dramas that realistically address the social and health-related dilemmas gay men face. So far, two episodes have been released, and more are in production.”

If you haven’t watched the videos, you should. In fact, they should be required viewing for any guy who has sex with other guys.  If you’re HIV positive, HIV Big Deal also wants to hear from you. Share your stories about disclosing your HIV status for their new video production, Ask Me, Tell Me.