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Movember: A Reminder That You Are Your Best Health Advocate

During November - or Movember - many men grow their facial hair to raise money and awareness for men's health. While it's fun to throw out the razor, it's important not to overlook the real message: every year, men die from cancers that would have been highly treatable if they'd been identified in time. For example: testicular cancer.

Testicular cancer is a very treatable disease with an over 95 percent survival rate - if it's caught early enough. Unfortunately, many men's health concerns are not taken seriously and their symptoms are ignored.

Testicular Cancer Is Often Missed During Physical Exams

Many men feel that something is wrong, maybe even find a lump in their testes through a self exam. They make appointments with their doctor, and, after a physical exam, are told it's nothing to worry about.

The harsh truth is that a physical exam alone is not adequate to rule out the possibility of testicular cancer. If you are having any of the following symptoms, your doctor should be ordering further tests.

  • A painless lump on the testes
  • An "atrophic" testicle, when one is smaller than the other
  • Swelling of the testicle or scrotum, up to three times in size
  • Pain or discomfort in the testicle or scrotum
  • A feeling of heaviness or tingling in the scrotum
  • A dull ache in the groin or lower abdomen
  • Breast tenderness
  • Lower back pain
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling of legs

How To Know If Your Doctor Is Not Taking Your Health Seriously

We rely on our doctors to keep us healthy. When a doctors says "it's nothing, you are fine," we want to believe they are right - or we're too embarrassed to push the subject.

The truth is: Testicular cancer is easy to treat if caught early, and it should not be missed.

If you exhibit the symptoms mentioned above, your doctor should be ordering further tests. If they don't, they aren't doing their job and they are putting your health at risk. Tests shown to be key in identifying testicular cancer include:

  • Ultrasounds
  • Blood tests to check for tumor markers
  • X-rays
  • CT scans
  • MRIs
  • Other imaging tests

If your doctor is not taking your concerns seriously, or if you have felt a lump that your doctor can't find, you need to get a second opinion or demand further testing. Your health, your fertility and your life are at stake. 

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