By Jeannie Blaylock
First Coast News
JACKSONVILLE, FL -- Every 12th of the month is Buddy Check Day and you've heard me for years say something like, "Ladies, don't forget your self exams."
This month, though, our success story isn't a woman. It's a man, Ottis McQuaig. He told his doctor how watching our news stories saved his life and his doctor called me.
Ottis says he was in the shower and felt a little hard lump like a pea. "It scared me," he says. He knew it might be a sign of cancer.
Turns out he was right. But he acted so quickly that, according to his Jacksonville physician, Dr. Mohamed Antar, Ottis didn't even have cancer in a single lymph node. In fact, Dr. Antar puts Ottis's success rate at around 99%. He believes Ottis won't have his testicular cancer come back and he'll still have his sexual prowess.
Testicular cancer strikes young, typically between the ages of 15 and 35. For men who were born with an undescended testicle there seems to be a higher risk. Testicular cancer can be wicked. It can spread from testicles to brain in just ten weeks, so early detection is critical.
The most famous person who battled testicular cancer is cyclist Lance Armstrong, known for his yellow bracelets and string of cycling victories. But Dr. Antar says, according to what he's read about Armstrong, his testicular cancer had gotten so bad he was spitting up blood when he went to get medical help. His cancer spread to his brain and made his case very difficult to fight.
Dr. Antar says before 1970 half of the men with testicular cancer died. Now if a man catches it early he has a cure rate of almost 100%.
Dr. Antar suggests doing exactly what Ottis did. He says check in the shower when the warm temperatures make the skin relaxed. The testicle should feel smooth without hard lumps. (He says men shouldn't get too concerned if there's a thickness on top of the testicle. That's a natural part of the anatomy. So are veins, especially on the left side.)
Ottis says men shouldn't be so tough-guy they avoid checking, as if their manhood might be compromised. He says, "Don't think about it as a loss of masculinity. It's life and death."
Our Buddy Check kits include a shower card for men. It shows how to do a testicular self exam and gives warning signs of possible cancer.
For example, one testicle feels heavier than usual. Another symptom is a dull ache or pain in the groin. And, of course, a lump in the testicle means call a doctor, as well. Often urologists are the ones who handle testicular cancer cases.
The shower cards and Buddy Check kits are free. In fact, we'll mail them to you. Just call our Buddy Check partner, Baptist Health at 202-CARE.
First Coast News