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Ever have that feeling that someone has got you by the balls? Well that may be truer than you think. If you are reading this you know that Rhone Apparel has sponsored “Rovember” to raise awareness and funds for testicular cancer research. Here are some simple facts.

Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men ages 15 to 34. Approximately 8,400 men per year will be diagnosed and 380 men will die from it this year. Treatment involves surgery to remove the affected testicle. In advanced cases chemotherapy and radiation made be required.

Early diagnosis and treatment is the key to survival. Self-examination monthly is essential for early detection.  Self-examination involves checking the testicles monthly for tenderness, swelling, lumps, bumps or irregularities. If one testicle seems larger than the other don’t worry that is normal. Other symptoms might include pain in the scrotum or groin. If you notice any of these symptoms, make an appointment to see you family physician or urologist.

So who is more likely to develop testicular cancer? A history of an undescended testicle is the biggest risk factor. Other risk factors include a father or brother with testicular cancer, and being a male between 15 to 34 years of age. Testicular cancer is also more common in white men than in black men.

Interestingly some new medical studies are describing some new risk factors. One study showed that smoking marijuana at least once a week doubles the chances of developing testicular cancer. Another study demonstrated an increased risk with increased height or body-mass index. This is thought to be due to increased exposure to growth hormone. One other study implicated an increase in developing testicular cancer if the patient used muscle-building supplements containing creatine or androstenedione, especially if they began using the supplements before age 25, took two or more supplements, or used supplements for three years or longer.

So the take home message is take a few minutes each month to get in touch with yourself and detect testicular cancer before it changes your life.

Dale Sutherland is a Board Certified Cardiac Anesthesiologist who has been in practice for 23 years. He completed his residency training at Yale University and his medical school at the University of Nebraska. Dale is also a Salvation member of Gym Jones since 2009 and has completed the fundamentals, intermediate, and advanced seminars. In addition to training Dale has also been playing competitive rugby since 1981 and continues to play to this day. 

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