For the past few weeks, The Bite has been reporting on Movember, with articles explaining the month-long initiative and reporting on men’s suicide rates. With a little more than one week to go (then teachers will finally shave off those 70’s-looking ‘staches), we’re looking at a health issue that affects our male students: testicular cancer.

According to Cancer.org, this is a young man’s disease, with the average age at the time of diagnosis being 33. Six percent of cases occur in teenagers and children, and only 8% of testicular cancer victims are men over the age of 55.

Here’s some basic information you should know, on detection and preventative measures, courtesy of the Testicular Cancer Foundation:

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Without any known explanation, the American Cancer Society  reports that testicular cancer rates have increased dramatically over the last 40 years. Fortunately, treatments have proven to be working and death rates are slowly decreasing.

It’s important to diagnose this disease early, as survival rates are much higher if the cancer is caught before it spreads.

If you have any of these symptoms, listed by Cancer.net,  it’s of course not guaranteed that you have cancer, but they’re good indicators that you should get yourself checked by a doctor:

  • A painless lump or swelling on either testicle.
  • Pain, discomfort, or numbness, with or without swelling, in a testicle or the scrotum.
  • Change in the way a testicle feels or a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum.
  • Dull ache in the lower abdomen or groin.
  • Sudden buildup of fluid in the scrotum.
  • Breast tenderness or growth.
  • Lower back pain, shortness of breath, chest pain.
  • For some young or middle-aged men, developing a blood clot may be the first sign of testicular cancer.

According to EverydayHealth, a problem is that men don’t get checkups as often as women do. The Tri-City Medical Center suggests that these may be some reasons why men avoid going to a doctor:

  • Macho attitude (“men who self-report traditional views on masculinity are also less likely to get consistent health care”).
  • The “fear of diagnosis” causes many to postpone their health check-ups.

After they get diagnosed, Cancer.net states that often, men choose to ignore their condition or postpone their treatment. This is a very poor decision, which could shorten their lives drastically. It is recommended that men aged 15-55 should do monthly self-examinations and schedule yearly check-ups with their primary doctors.

This Movember, it is essential to raise awareness about health issues that are often overlooked by men. In addition to growing a mustache, we encourage all our male readers to see a doctor for a routine check-up!

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