Tests That Can Save Your Life

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Mark Walters knows the importance of a check-up.

    The 54-year old noticed something odd on one of his testicles during a self-exam. He went to see his doctor right away and was diagnosed with testicular cancer.

    Tests That Can Save Your Life

    [DGO] Tests That Can Save Your Life
    These tests can be life-savers but a lot of men just don't get them. (Published Wednesday, Sep 8, 2010)

    "I felt a hard spot or a lump that hadn't been there before," Walters said.

    After treatment Walters is doing fine. But it's because he did one critical thing, a self exam, that he was able to get the necessary treatment.

    "Just like what women do for breast cancer, it is what men should do for their testicular cancers to rule that out," said Carol Kashefi a Scripps Clinic urologist.

    Men should start self exams for testicular cancer at the age of 15 and continue into their 50s but the vast majority of testicular cancers occur between ages 15 - 35.

    Prostate cancer is also on the list.

    "For that, we do an annual digital rectal exam to feel the prostate as well as a PSA test you need, you need both to do proper screening," said Kashefi.

    Sometimes one problem can mask another.

    "A lot of men come to see us for erectile dysfunction and a lot of them don't recognize this might be the first precursor or the first sign of coronary artery disease," Kashefi said.

    The doctor says men often don't get the testing they need, because of something that's very typically male.

    "Part of what's endearing about men is they want to be the man, they want to take care of the family, they want to take care of everyone else, and the last thing on their plate is themselves," she said. "They don't want to necessarily admit that they're ill or sick. So denial's a big problem."

    Starting at the age of 45, men should ditch the denial and get the testing especially because they're entering into the high-risk age group, Kashefi adds.