How to Check for Testicular Cancer
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Do you know the right way to check yourself for testicular cancer? Watch this to learn how.
Transcript: Testicular self-exams help detect testicular cancer EARLY, while it's still easily treatable. If you...
Testicular self-exams help detect testicular cancer EARLY, while it's still easily treatable. If you have a family history of testicular cancer or an undescended testicle, you should perform MONTHLY self-exams. Otherwise, you need to get an ANNUAL exam from your healthcare provider. Here's how to check yourself for testicular cancer. I recommend you do it during or directly AFTER a bath or shower, when the scrotum skin is relaxed. Here's how to give yourself a testicular exam - we're going to demo this with a model, but you get the idea. While standing, hold the penis out of the way and examine each testicle, one at a time. Place your index and middle fingers UNDER the testicle and your thumb on TOP. Roll it gently between your fingers, feeling for any hard lumps, which can be as small as a grain of rice. You may feel a small, soft bump along the middle or top of the backside of your testicle. This is called the epididymis-a narrow tube that connects each testicle to the exit route for semen. Don't mistake it for a lump. Free-floating lumps in the scrotum are also not signs of cancer. Check the SIZE of each testicle-one will likely be slightly larger than the other, but any SIGNIFICANT enlargement is abnormal. Check to see if the scrotum feels heavier than usual. If you detect any irregularities or lumps, make a doctor's appointment to receive more conclusive examinations and tests. Check out more videos in this series to learn more about men's cancers.More »
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How can you tell if you have testicular cancer? Check out this video to learn about the most common symptoms of testicular cancer and how to know if you should see your doctor.
Transcript: Testicular cancer has a VERY high survival rate when caught early. In fact, treatment is so effective...
Testicular cancer has a VERY high survival rate when caught early. In fact, treatment is so effective that the risk of dying from this form of cancer is about 1 in 5,000. That's why it is so important for men to know the symptoms. They include: --A lump, SWELLING, and/or enlargement in either testicle, which is usually painless --However with larger tumors there may be discomfort or PAIN in the testicles --A feeling of HEAVINESS in the scrotum --A dull PAIN in the abdomen and/or groin --A sense of pressure in the lower back --A rapid pooling of FLUID in the scrotum Symptoms of less common testicular cancer types include LOSS of sexual desire, enlargement of the breast tissue and, in boys, early growth of facial and/or body hair. Sometimes, testicular cancer spreads throughout the body. Signs include SUBSTANTIAL weight loss, back pain, CHEST pain, coughing, and enlargement of the lymph nodes on the neck. If you experience any of these symptoms, see your doctor for a physical examination and perhaps an ultrasound scan to look at internal tissue. To learn more about detecting testicular cancer, take a look at other videos in this series.More »
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Testicular cancer responds well to treatment such as radiation and chemotherapy, but all treatments come with side effects. Watch this to learn about testicular cancer treatments and therapies.
Transcript: In all stages of testicular cancer the cancerous testicle is removed and then the patient will have a...
In all stages of testicular cancer the cancerous testicle is removed and then the patient will have a CAT scan to see if the cancer has spread. The most common site of additional cancer is in the abdominal lymph nodes. If it has spread there, treatment may include removal of the nodes and or chemotherapy. Radiation is VERY effective against seminoma tumors. It can SHRINK them and even destroy cancer cells that AREN'T visible on a CAT scan. If the tumor is determined to be a NON-seminoma, testicular cancer treatment may be more aggressive, as about half of the time this tumor type can progress quickly. Chemotherapy is used against both seminoma and non-seminoma tumors if the tumor has SPREAD or blood tests reveal a high level of tumor markers. Sometimes it's necessary to use a cocktail of a chemo drug PLUS additional rounds of radiation. Since the surgeries and chemotherapy can affect FERTILITY, young men who hope to have children in the future are often advised to freeze their healthy sperm for use after they're successfully treated. Fortunately, men do have a REALLY GOOD chance of beating testicular cancer. The survival rate is 72 to 99 percent!More »
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Skin cancer is often treatable if detected early. Regular skin cancer screening is your best way of staying informed. Learn how to check yourself in this video.
Transcript: Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in America. So how do you know if you have it? While an...
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in America. So how do you know if you have it? While an abnormal growth on the skin might suggest skin cancer, only a surgical procedure called a biopsy can confirm the diagnosis. This is extremely important because with early detection, skin cancer can be almost always be cured! The first step to ensuring that cancer doesn't go undetected is to have your physician or dermatologist examine your skin at least once a year. People with a family history of skin cancer and those who spend excessive time in the sun are more at risk for developing the disease, but anyone can get it-so it's imperative to examine your own skin for warning signs every month. To perform a self-examination, stand in a well lit room. Examine the front of your body thoroughly. It can help to use a blow dryer to ruffle your hair and inspect your scalp. Use a hand mirror to inspect your shoulders, back, buttocks and legs. Finish by examining your hands and nails. While you're examining your skin, look for changes in the appearance of any birthmark, mole or blemish. Also watch out for any new growths. Non-melanoma skin cancers can manifest as sores that don't seem to heal. A brown streak beneath the nail or a waxy scar on the body can also be signs of cancer. And watch out for flat lesions that are hard to the touch or translucent growths with rolled up edges. When performing a self-examination, pay particular attention to any moles on your body. Moles may be indicative of the most serious form of skin cancer, melanoma. If a mole appears to be asymmetrical or multi-colored, if it grows in diameter or has irregular borders, it may be a melanoma.It's not necessarily easy to diagnose skin cancer on your own, so remember to get your skin checked by a dermatologist at least once a year.During your appointment, your dermatologist will examine your skin closely, possibly using a handheld microscope-like device,A biopsy is a fairly simple in-office or outpatient procedure. There are several different ways in which a biopsy can be performed, but in general biopsy involves numbing the suspicious area and removing part-or all-of a lesion for microscope examination. A biopsy is the only way to definitively tell if skin cancer is present called a dermascope. If he thinks that a lesion may be cancerous, he will take a biopsy. A biopsy is a fairly simple in-office or outpatient procedure. There are several different ways in which a biopsy can be performed, but in general biopsy involves numbing the suspicious area and removing part-or all-of a lesion for microscope examination. A biopsy is the only way to definitively tell if skin cancer is presentIf your biopsy shows cancerous cells, your doctor will discuss various treatment options with you. Remember, skin cancer is usually curable if caught early, so stay up to date on the appearance of your skin and see your doctor if you notice any changes.More »
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Millions of Americans are diagnosed with cancer every year. But cancer treatment today offers hope for a better future, in many cases. To learn more about cancer treatment, watch this video.
Transcript: There are more than 10 million Americans who have undergone some form of cancer treatment. The goal of...
There are more than 10 million Americans who have undergone some form of cancer treatment. The goal of this treatment is always the same: Remove all cancer with minimal damage to the rest of the body. Still, no two treatment programs are identical. Each takes the location and severity of the cancer into account. In addition, the mental and physical state of the patient is considered. One method for treating cancer is surgical excision, or removal of the cancer from the affected area. A mastectomy for removing breast cancer is a common example. While surgery can be effective, its usefulness is limited once a cancer has begun to metastasize, or spread, to other areas of the bodyIn addition, surgery is not an option for people with leukemia and lymphoma, which originate in the bone marrow and lympathic system, respectively, and therefore do not manifest as tumors. For people whose cancers have spread, or who have one of these blood cancers, radiation therapy may be used to kill the cancer cells. This method uses ionizing radiation, a form of treatment that destroys the genetic make-up, or DNA, of the cells in the target treatment area. The downside to radiation is that it also destroys some healthy cells in the body. However, the majority of these are usually able to recover from the treatments, while targeted cancerous cells, which are not native to the body, ARE destroyed. Perhaps the most well known form of cancer treatment is chemotherapy, which involves taking a high-dosage of prescription medication to kill cancer cells. Because cancer cells divide and multiply at very rapid rates, these cytotoxic chemotherapy drugs target all cells that behave in this manner. The downside is that chemotherapeutics have the potential to harm healthy tissue with a naturally high replacement rate, such as those found in the intestinal lining. There are other methods of treating and eradicating cancer, many of which are undergoing intensive research by medical scientists. Among them are immunotherapy, which induces the patient's own immune system to fight invading cancer cells, and hormonal therapy, which inhibits the growth of hormone-sensitive tumors, such as those in prostate cancer. In addition, alternative treatments, like yoga, acupuncture, meditation, and visual imagery have become very popular with come cancer patients. In some cases, cancer cannot be eradicated, and, as an alternative to treating the disease, the pain of cancer is treated. Pain medication is also used to curb the side-effects of aggressive chemotherapy or radiation. Some common medications used for this purpose are morphine and oxycodone, or OxyContin, both of which ease pain and suppress nausea and vomiting. These improve a patient's quality of life, and are therefore an invaluable part of some cancer treatment programs. This year, 1.4 million Americans will be diagnosed with some form of cancer. If you or a loved one are among them, speak to your doctor in detail about the treatment options that may be right for you.More »
Last Modified: 2013-04-26 | Tags »
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A better understanding of breast cancer will help you prevent and detect the condition early. Check out this video to learn more.
Transcript: In order to understand breast cancer, it's helpful to be aware of the basic anatomy of the breast. Each...
In order to understand breast cancer, it's helpful to be aware of the basic anatomy of the breast. Each breast contains 15 to 20 lobes of tissue, arranged like the petals of a daisy. Lobes are further divided into milk-producing lobules, which are connected by ducts designed to carry milk to the nipple during breast feeding. Each breast also connects to lymph nodes in the underarm, above the collarbone, and in the chest behind the breastbone. As with other cancers, those that manifest in the breast start when something goes wrong in the body's normal cell dividing process. This causes an excess of cells to build up and form an abnormal lump of tissue, called a tumor. When this happens in the breast, it usually does so in the milk ducts, which is called ductal carcinoma, or in the lobules, called lobular carcinoma. In 80% percent of cases, a tumor in any part of the breast will be found to be benign, or not cancerous. However, if a tumor IS cancerous, it may grow and invade tissue nearby, like the chest wall, or it may spread to nearby lymph nodes or other organs. We know that breast cancer does not discriminate. From singers like Sheryl Crow and Melissa Etheridge, to actors like Christina Applegate and Cynthia Nixon, to political figures like judge Sandra Day O'Connor and first lady Nancy Reagan, the disease can strike anyone. Indeed, almost one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer...but why does this happen? Researchers have found that the female hormone estrogen probably plays a role in the development of certain kinds of breast cancer. That's because estrogen tells cells to divide, and the more that cell division occurs, the more likely something will go wrong in the process. As a result, women who begin menstruating before 12, and those who go through menopause after 55 have a higher breast cancer risk. Similarly, women who undergo hormone therapy for menopause may be more likely to fall prey to cancer. In fact, the typical breast cancer patient is over 60 at the time of diagnosis. Many women who get breast cancer also have a history of the disease in their immediate families. And researchers now know that mutations on two genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, are responsible for some cases of inherited breast cancer. One in 200 women carries these genes, which explains why up to 10% of breast cancer cases are related to BRCA. Still, there is no hard and fast rule about who will be affected by this disease! If you're concerned about breast cancer, make an appointment to speak with your doctor.More »
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Finding a cyst in your breast doesn't necessarily mean that you have breast cancer.Watch this video to find out the steps your doctor will take to analyze the lump in your breast.
Transcript: It's disconcerting to find a soft lump in your breast. You may wonder, Is this breast cancer? While...
It's disconcerting to find a soft lump in your breast. You may wonder, Is this breast cancer? While you should be alert to all changes in your breasts, know that finding a lump doesn't necessarily mean the worst. Breast cysts, fluid-filled sacs that most women discover during breast self-exam, are common. These cysts form when an overgrowth of glands and connective tissue block the milk ducts in the breast, causing them to dilate and fill with fluid. Usually, cysts are round or oval lumps, with the soft texture of a water-balloon. It's common for them to grow larger just before a woman's period, and shrink after menstruation ends. Occasionally, patients report pain or tenderness around the area of the cyst. Whatever the specific symptoms, cysts most often occur in perimenopausal women in their 30s and 40s. The good news is that just one in 1,000 of them contain a tumor! And in almost all of these rare cases, the tumor is benign, or non-cancerous. Still, it's a normal reaction to be concerned if you find a breast lump, and it's smart to visit your gynecologist and get it checked out. Generally, she'll ask about the cyst's history and perform a clinical breast examination. The doctor may also order a breast ultrasound, which allows her to better analyze the lump and determine if it's fluid-filled. If the lump is solid inside, your doctor might order further tests, like a biopsy, to ensure that it's not cancerous. Sometimes a doctor will perform a fine-needle aspiration on the cyst, or remove it surgically. Aspiration involves inserting a needle into the breast lump to draw fluid. Aside from ensuring that the lump is nothing more than a cyst, aspiration helps to deflate growth, essentially treating the cyst. If the fluid that emerges from a cyst is bloody, however, it must be sent to a lab for further testing. Your doctor will want to rule out the possibility of cancer with additional tests if no fluid emerges, since that can suggest that the lump, or a portion of it, is solid. Breast cysts are usually no cause for concern, but you should always discuss any changes in your breasts with your doctor.More »
Last Modified: 2012-11-17 | Tags »
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What's the correct way to perform a breast self-exam? Check out this video for tips on how to do it and what to look for.
Transcript: A breast self-exam, or BSE, involves looking at and feeling your breasts for changes that could indicate...
A breast self-exam, or BSE, involves looking at and feeling your breasts for changes that could indicate the presence of cancer. The emphasis on BSEs for cancer detection has been displaced by breast awareness - which means knowing your breasts, staying in tune with your body and being able to spot changes. Eight out of ten breast lumps found during BSE's are benign, which causes many to feel they're to blame for a lot of unnecessary testing ... and anxiety. However, with 70% of cancers found through self-exam, some women might not prefer to give them up. If you do conduct a BSE, pick a time when your breasts are not tender or swollen. For menstruating women, that's a few days after your period ends. Postmenopausal women can pick any day of the month to perform their BSEs. Your monthly exam starts with a visual examination of your breasts. Stand in front of a mirror with your hands on your hips and look for: puckering or dimpling of the skin, changes in breast size or shape, redness or scaling of the nipples, and nipple discharge. Exam your underarms for any hard lumps or swelling, then prepare for the tactile part by lying on your back, which allows your breast tissue to spread evenly over your chest. With your right arm above your head, use the pads of your three middle fingers to examine your right breast. Use an up and down pattern, starting from the underarm and moving across the entire breast to the middle of your chest. Feel for any thickening of the breast, a texture that's different from surrounding tissue, or any notable lumps and repeat the process on your left breast. If you notice anything suspicious, contact your gynecologist. While this information serves as a guideline for conducting breast self-exams, it's wise to have your doctor check your technique!More »
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Radiation and surgery followed by chemotherapy are some of the breast cancer treatments available to patients. Find out more treatment options in this video.
Transcript: There are more than two million breast cancer survivors in the United States, and that's to the credit...
There are more than two million breast cancer survivors in the United States, and that's to the credit of today's growing number of treatment options! Breast cancer treatment goals are twofold: to remove as much of the cancer as possible and to prevent it from coming back. To do that, doctors rely on five treatment methods: surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, hormone therapy, and targeted therapy. Surgery is the most common treatment option, and it may involve removing just the cancerous tumor, as in a lumpectomy. More serious prognoses may require a mastectomy, the removal of the entire breast, usually including the nipple, often with lymph nodes in the armpit that may be affected. Many women who go through surgery receive additional treatment, like radiation, which uses high powered beams of energy to kill cancer cells. This can occur via an external machine, or through radioactive implants placed inside the body. Side-effects of radiation include a red rash at the treatment site, along with general fatigue. Radiation AND surgery are local treatments, made to eradicate cancer in one, targeted area. The remaining three treatment options are systemic, which means they attempt to control cancer cells ALL OVER the body. Chemotherapy, for example, is an oral or injected medication, that works by either stopping cancer cells from multiplying, or killing them completely. Unfortunately, chemo may also eradicate HEALTHY cells, which is why nausea, vomiting, hair loss and fever tend to occur. Another systemic treatment, hormone therapy, is effective for about two-thirds of cancers. Cancer cells contain receptors for estrogen, which they depend upon to grow. Hormone therapy seeks to block the body's estrogen from ever reaching the tumor. Tamoxifen is one such drug. It binds to estrogen receptors on cells, so that estrogen can't. Aromatase inhibitors, like the Arimedex and Femara, can reduce the body's production of estrogen while stopping it altogether in post-menopausal women. Menopausal-like symptoms, including decreased sex drive, hot flashes, and vaginal dryness, are common side-effects of hormone therapy. The final treatment option, targeted therapy, uses drugs or other substances to identify and attack ONLY specific cancer cells, leaving healthy cells intact. A popular example, Herceptin, blocks a protein called HER2, which some breast cancer cells need to grow and survive. Understand that targeted therapy of this type will ONLY work if the cancer is sensitive to the HER2 protein. This is true for about one-fourth of all cancers, and is determined by analyzing tissue samples in a lab. Any of these three systemic treatments may be used with the goal of killing any cancer cells that remain in the body after surgery or radiation, which is known as adjuvant therapy. Similarly, systemic treatments may be used BEFORE local treatments, hopefully shrinking a tumor and making it easier to remove. With so many treatment options available, creating the perfect plan to treat YOUR form of breast cancer shouldn't be hard. See your doctor and discuss your options.More »
Last Modified: 2013-07-24 | Tags »
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Although chemotherapy is the most common treatment for cancer, there are some side effects involved. Watch this video to learn more.
Transcript: For many, chemotherapy is the best treatment option for cancer. That said, people facing chemotherapy...
For many, chemotherapy is the best treatment option for cancer. That said, people facing chemotherapy are understandably concerned about side effects. The nausea, vomiting, hair loss, fatigue and lowered white blood cell count associated with chemo can range from temporary and minor, to uncomfortable and even life-threatening. In general, chemotherapy is effective at killing cancer cells, but it doesn't distinguish between cancer cells and healthy, growing cells... which may lead to side effects. So what should you expect? For starters, chemotherapy causes hair loss over the entire body, which is usually temporary. It may affect bone marrow cells, causing fatigue, bruising and bleeding, as well as increased vulnerability to infection. Skin cells may be affected too, meaning dryness, while dry mouth or oral sores can also occur. Because cells in the stomach and intestines may be affected, bouts of nausea, vomiting or diarrhea should be expected. The good news is that drugs can be used to combat those symptoms. Many wonder if chemotherapy impacts fertility. The short answer is that chemotherapy may inhibit normal ovary function, either temporarily or permanently, but that depends on the type of drugs prescribed. Even if menstruation stops during treatment, the ovaries may still produce eggs. Certain chemotherapy drugs are believed to increase the risk of male infertility. If you are male and concerned about this, storing sperm in a sperm bank prior to treatment may be worth exploring. It's not uncommon for sexual desire to wax and wane depending on where you're at in the treatment cycle, too. Because of its impact on female hormones, vaginal dryness, hot flashes, and premature menopause may happen. Dangerous side effects that require a call to the doctor include a fever higher than 100.5, shaking or chills, vomiting that continues more than 48 hours following treatment, bleeding or bruising, frequent or painful urination, blood in urine or stools, or severe constipation or diarrhea. Other red flags include shortness of breath, chest pain, irregular or rapid heartbeat, intense fatigue, mouth sores and dizziness, as well as soreness, swelling and pus or drainage at the catheter location. Talk to your doctor about any other medications you take. Everyone reacts to chemotherapy differently, depending on type and combination of drugs used, and overall health and fitness. Your doctor can address any additional chemotherapy-related questions or concerns.More »
Last Modified: 2012-11-17 | Tags »
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Many people with cancer are not aware that cancer rehabilitation is available. If you or someone you know needs treatment, check out this video to find out how to access it.
Last Modified: 2012-10-18 | Tags »
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Men of a certain age should get a prostate exam, but which kind is safe and effective? Check out this video to get details on DREs and PSA tests.
Transcript: Prostate cancer screening is often useful, but experts DISagree on whether testing is reliable and safe...
Prostate cancer screening is often useful, but experts DISagree on whether testing is reliable and safe enough to be a benefit for most men. There are 2 ways to check for prostate cancer-a digital rectal exam, or DRE, and the controversial prostate-specific antigen test, or PSA test. The DRE should be done annually. It involves a doctor or nurse inserting their gloved finger into the rectum to check the prostate for abnormalities. There is no debate that this is a valuable exam. The PSA test checks blood levels of an antigen that can be elevated in prostate cancer. The PSA test detects cancer better than the DRE, but research HAS NOT definitively shown that knowing your PSA level decreases the risk of death from prostate cancer. And only about 25 percent of men who have a prostate biopsy due to an elevated PSA level actually have prostate cancer. Furthermore, the biopsy itself can have some negative health consequences. And among the men who DO turn out to have cancer, many are at an age when the slow growing cancer will not be what kills them. Nonetheless, many receive treatments such as radiation or even radical surgery that may do more harm than the slow-growing cancer. That's why the U.S. Preventive Task Force and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend AGAINST PSA screenings for men without symptoms, saying the potential harm outweighs the benefits. In contrast, the Prostate Cancer Foundation, the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American Urological Association DO think that PSA tests are valuable for healthy men. The bottom line? According to the American Cancer Society, men should DISCUSS prostate cancer testing with their healthcare provider if they're 50 years old with average risk, or 40 to 45 years old with HIGHER risk. That includes a family history of prostate cancer or being African American. Need to know more about prostate cancer? Watch more videos in this series!More »
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What are the most common symptoms of prostate cancer? Watch this video to learn what your symptoms may mean and if you need to see a doctor for a prostate exam.
Transcript: In its early stages, prostate cancer exhibits few, if ANY, symptoms. Sometimes, prostate cancer symptoms...
In its early stages, prostate cancer exhibits few, if ANY, symptoms. Sometimes, prostate cancer symptoms will develop once the cancer has SPREAD to other parts of the body, but even at that advanced stage, prostate cancer symptoms DIFFER in severity on a case-to-case basis. Locally advanced prostate cancer or an enlarged prostate that is not cancerous can affect a man's ability to urinate normally. He may experience: BURNING or painful urination, difficulty in initiating the stream, a frequent or URGENT need to urinate, particularly at night, trouble with emptying his bladder, a WEAK stream of urine, blood in his urine. A man with prostate cancer may also have HINDERED sexual function. Examples include: difficulty achieving ERECTION, pain when ejaculating, and he may see blood in his semen. If prostate cancer has spread to the BONES, a man may feel frequent pain and stiffness in his hips, lower back and upper thighs. But it's important to remember that the vast majority of prostate cancer cases do not metastasize or spread to other parts of the body. These symptoms also commonly occur in other conditions and infections, so DON'T jump to conclusions if these symptoms seem familiar. If you're younger than 50, prostate cancer is LESS likely to be the cause of your urological and sexual problems, but that doesn't mean you can ignore them-I encourage you to see your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.More »
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