Annual wellness visits and self-examinations can aid in the early detection of health risks or conditions such as testicular cancer that affects 8,000-10,000 men every year. Here are 5 things you should know about testicular cancer to keep you informed:
Who is at risk for testicular cancer?
The fact is that every man is at risk for testicular cancer. The most important part about testicular cancer is the screening process, though. Every man should be doing a testicular exam on themselves, the same way that it’s recommended that a woman does a breast exam. Plus, because every man is essentially at risk for developing testicular cancer, they should be getting routine checks by their primary care physician.
Are there risk factors for testicular cancer?
There are a set of specific risk factors that may put you at a slightly higher risk for testicular cancer than the general population such as family history, for example. If you are a patient that was born with undescended testicles, or some sort of testicular deformity as a child, you may be at a slightly higher risk. If you had testicular cancer on one of your testicles, you are at a slightly higher risk for testicular cancer on the other testicle.
Does testicular cancer only affect older men?
Testicular cancer can affect men at any age, as there are several types. Some types are predominantly seen in very young children, even newborns. There are also specific types of testicular cancer that can develop during childhood, adolescent years, early or late adult years, and older men. These cancers can all be different, but they still fall within the category of testicular cancer. The fact is, testicular cancer knows no age limit. It can happen to anybody at any point.
Does testicular cancer affect a man’s sex drive?
Cancer itself usually does not affect a man’s sex drive. However, with that said, we know that as cancer develops within the gonad or the testicle, it can affect how testicles produce sperm and testosterone.
We know it can affect fertility because as the testicle’s architecture and function change because it’s taken over by cancer, it can affect spermatogenesis or the production of sperm. In addition to that, we have specific cells inside our testicles that’s predominant job is to produce testosterone, androgen, or the male hormone. Changes in the testicle due to the development of cancer can potentially affect testosterone production, which can lead to changes in a man’s sex drive.
Can cycling increase your risk of testicular cancer?
The good news is that if you enjoy riding a bike, it really should not increase your risk for testicular cancer. You may be thinking of Lance Armstrong- a very famous cyclist who was a big proponent for testicular cancer awareness as he successfully treated his testicular cancer. However, there is no significant study to suggest that cycling increases your risk. Nowhere does science believe that Lance Armstrong developed testicular cancer because he rode a bike for so long. So, if you enjoy riding a bike, keep doing it because it’s great for your health.
Know your risks and make your health a priority. Ensure you continue to perform the necessary self-exams and schedule your annual wellness visit with your TopLine MD Alliance affiliated primary care physician.
Dr. Daniel Martinez is a proud member of the TopLine MD Alliance and a fellowship-trained physician specializing in sexual medicine, andrology, and male infertility in Miami Dade County.