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    Note: Although Teri is not currently serving as a forum moderator, the advice in this thread remains completely relevant!

    If you are concerned about whether you might have Testicular Cancer, you are in the right place!

    Before you post your questions, though, you should be aware of a few things.

    First, we are not doctors here, and no one can tell you whether your symptoms are, or are not, TC or something else that might be serious or require medical attention. Therefore, our response to any questions about symptoms you are worried about will invariably end with, "You must go to a doctor and have it checked out." Even a doctor would not attempt a diagnosis through the internet, but rather would advise you to go to a doctor for an examination. Often even worrisome symptoms turn out not to be serious, but because testicular cancer can sometimes grow and spread rapidly, it is not worth taking a chance.

    The good news about TC, though, is that it is just about the most curable cancer there is, when it is detected and treated promptly. A common question is whether someone has "waited too long" to go to the doctor, and whether it is "too late". Although ANY cancer should be treated as promptly as possible, there are different types of testicular tumors that grow and spread at different rates. Some guys wait for months to go to the doctor (again, this is NOT recommended) and require no treatment beyond the initial surgery and regular followup tests. Other guys go at the first sign of symptoms and wind up having to receive fairly intense treatment. Often testicular cancer is highly curable even when there has been significant spread. However, the sooner it is detected, the less chance there is that more intensive treatments will be needed. Bottom line, it is seldom "too late" but you are still rolling the dice if you don't have your symptoms checked out promptly.

    The symptoms of TC, and other information about the disease, can be found in a number of links on our Home Page, and at the Testicular Cancer Resource Center (TCRC), which probably has the most comprehensive collection of information about testicular cancer on the internet.

    Special note to younger guys (under 18 or still in school): For a lot of you, the prospect of going to the doctor or asking your parents to make an appointment for you is almost as scary as the thought of having cancer! It need not be a big deal, though. If you check the threads in this forum, you will find that almost every guy in your situation had the same feelings, and we have yet to hear from anyone whose parents freaked out or from anyone who was sorry he went to the doctor.

    The doctor's exam is fairly simple, and not at all painful. He or she will feel for any lumps or bumps. If there is reason for any concern, he or she will order an ultrasound, which is a painless test where they put a gel on your scrotum and pass a little wand-type device over your skin that sends back a picture sort of like an xray. That will tell the doctor whether any lump is fluid (like a cyst) or solid (possibly cancer). There are also some blood tests that sometimes provide additional clues. Based upon these tests, the doctor usually has a pretty good idea whether or not the lump is cancer.

    Asking your parents to make an appointment does not have to be a big dramatic announcement. Often we suggest that you go to whichever parent you are more comfortable talking to and mention that you have been learning about testicular cancer and how important it is to do monthly self-exams and go to the doctor promptly if anything doesn't feel "quite right". Tell your mom or dad you have been doing the exams, and something doesn't feel quite right, and even though it may be nothing to worry about, you really need to have a doctor check it out to make sure. We can almost guarantee your parent will be concerned and supportive and make the appointment for you. It will take a big load off your mind if it turns out to be nothing, and even if it turns out to be something, you will be able to do something about it besides worry. There is always a way to get the message across (one guy who posted here wrote his mom a note because it seemed easiest!). If you still need help, ask us, and we'll do our best to help you.

    The Admin Staff
    Last edited by Scott; 03-14-05, 08:40 PM.