CANCER – EARLY WARNING: DELAY IN DIAGNOSIS OF TESTICULAR TUMORS COSTS LIVES

Monthly self-examination of the breasts by women is generally acknowledged to be an efficient way of detecting tumors while they are still likely to be curable. Why then don’t men take the same trouble in detecting testicular tumors? The answer, of course, is that testicular tumors are much less common than tumors of the breast.

Nevertheless, according to the Southern Medical Journal (78:33), men all too frequently procrastinate after finding a mass in the scrotum. When diagnosis and surgical treatment are carried out early and before a testicular tumor has spread beyond the scrotum, cure can be obtained in over 90 percent of cases. Three months seems to be a critical period. When men delay longer than this before seeking help, their tumors are more likely to have spread, and survival then drops to less than 50 percent.

Unfortunately, the man who discovers an abnormal testicular mass tends to find an excuse for not doing anything about it. Such masses are usually painless, and this suggests to non-medical people that they can’treally be dangerous. Nothing could be more misleading, because the majority of testicular tumors are highly malignant. For this reason, Emergency Medicine (12#17:167) recommends that, using both hands, all men should systematically feel the contents of the scrotum every month and report to a physician immediately if they detect anything abnormal. Taking only a minute, this procedure can save many lives.

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