BALTIMORE — Colon Cancer and Testicular Cancer are two of the cancers that men typically don't want to talk about. Testing for the two can seem abrasive and intrusive but testing can be life saving.
Over the last few decades, doctors have seen changes in the trends relating to colon cancer. Dr. Joshua Wolf of Lifebridge Health explained that the risk trends have declined for those over 55 and increased in the younger group.
Since people under fifty aren't typically screened for colon cancer, they have to play close attention to any abdominal symptoms.
"Anything from abdominal pain, bloating, increased strain with bowel movements, blood in the stool anything like that, it really has to be checked out by your primary doctor or a gastrointestinal specialist." said Dr. Wolf.
Another indicator of risk is family history. When Orioles player, Trey Mancini was diagnosed at the age of 27, it brought attention to the disease and the importance of knowing your family history. His father had been diagnosed in his 50s.
Dr. Wolf also explained that there are increased rates of Colon Cancer diagnoses in the Black and African American communities.
"Studies have shown that there are increased rates in Black and African American communities. The reason for this is probably a variety of things but one reason that has been thrown out there is that there is some unfortunate health care disparities in messaging to African American communities and also the prevalence in screening in general. So that’s something that as a healthcare profession we have to improve that. We have to take care of our communities." said Dr. Wolf.
When it comes to testicular cancer, it's a disease that typically effects younger men between the ages of 15 and 34.
While some men say they have never been taught how to do self test on their testicals, Dr. Marc Siegelbaum, Chief of Urology at the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center, says the process is fairly simple and the education about testicular cancer should start around middle school age.
Dr. Siegelbaum say there are three main symptoms to look out for.
It’s usually discomfort, swelling in the area or a palpable mass, meaning that they can feel a lump or a mass in the testicle.
The good news about testicular cancer is that it is highly treatable and curable.
"The testicle removal may be the only thing that patient ever requires for complete cure...God was good to us in that he gave us two testicles and usually with just one functioning, men can still be fertile and can very much still produce enough testosterone to have masculine features" said Dr. Siegelbaum.