Why Are North Dakotans Afraid To Talk About This?
Over the last several weeks, I have seen several posts on social media asking for prayers concerning a recent cancer diagnosis...more specifically, testicular cancer. One was caught early, and one was not. In both cases, the cancerous testicle was removed, but the treatment each is going through is different. OMG, this article contains the word testicle! You're blushing now, aren't you? Yes, and we are going to have an adult conversation about testicular cancer!
If tests indicate that you have a germ cell tumor, your doctors will use the results to help identify how advanced it is and choose the right treatment for you.
Doctors use the TNM system to determine how advanced your tumor is.
- T: the size of your testicular tumor
- N: whether your cancer has spread to the lymph nodes in the pelvis or abdomen
- M: whether your cancer has metastasized (spread) to other parts of the body
Categorized testicular cancer into three stages:
- Stage I, when the cancer is only in the testicle with no evidence that it has spread
- Stage II, when the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes in the abdomen or pelvis
- Stage III, when the cancer has spread to lymph nodes in the chest, lungs, liver, bones, or brain
Depending on the type and stage of the cancer, as well as other factors, treatment options for testicular cancer can include:
- Surgery for Testicular Cancer
- Radiation Therapy for Testicular Cancer
- Chemotherapy for Testicular Cancer
- High-Dose Chemotherapy and Stem Cell Transplant for Testicular Cancer
Who Treats Testicular Cancer
You may have different types of doctors on your treatment team, depending on the stage of your cancer and your treatment options. These doctors may include:
- A urologist: a surgeon who specializes in treating diseases of the urinary system and male reproductive system
- A radiation oncologist: a doctor who treats cancer with radiation therapy
- A medical oncologist: a doctor who treats cancer with medicines like chemotherapy
You might have many other specialists on your treatment team as well, including physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, nutrition specialists, social workers, and other health professionals.
You may feel like you’re on an emotional roller coaster during your testicular cancer diagnosis and treatment. In fact, the unwanted ride may continue for some time after treatment, too. This is entirely normal. Some of the emotions you may feel are:
Confusion: simply wrapping your head around the different types of testicular cancer or treatments available can be overwhelming.
Anger: you may quite understandably feel it’s unfair that you have to go through this. That frustration can boil up sometimes in unexpected ways.
Anxiety and fear: you may be worried about treatment side effects, chances of recovery or possible changes to your life after cancer. You may also worry about the cancer returning.
It's simple to only concentrate on your physical recovery when you have testicular cancer. Remember that your emotional and mental wellness are equally important. Help is available if you're suffering or feeling overburdened. There are various possibilities for accessing dependable, trustworthy care online if there aren't any local in-person support groups available, such as the Cancer Survivors Network.
This is a basic run down of the process. Here is the deal...talking about any cancer can be difficult. Talking about anything that involves the reproductive system is just weird (gasp)! Being aware of what CAN happen starts with a discussion. We are all adults, and as men, we all need to know that we can get testicular cancer. Knowing how to do a basic self exam can be the difference between stage 1 or a total run away. When the time comes, don't be afraid to talk to your sons about keeping an eye on things. You might think about this article, and thank me later.