In recognition of Testicular Awareness Month, OncoLink welcomes a guest blog from Tommy John, a men’s underwear company in the business of supporting men. They interviewed the folks at the Testicular Cancer Foundation about the stigma surrounding this disease and some of the common myths.
Tommy John: We’ve read about some of the stigma surrounding the disease. Can you provide some more detail on what you feel are the biggest stigmas that men battle when facing this disease?
Testicular Cancer Foundation: Indeed, there is quite a bit of stigma around the disease. When dealing with a cancer that directly affects one’s manhood, it can be a traumatic event. The idea of losing a testicle to many is like losing a piece of their masculinity, and in turn a part of who they are. We talk to newly diagnosed patients every week who are more concerned with the idea of losing a testicle, than the diagnosis itself. The good news is that after surgery, and the potential treatment, the majority of men return back to a normal healthy life including, recreation/hobbies, work, sex, and family life.
TJ: Piggybacking on our first question, what are some examples of misinformation out there about the disease? Through our research, we found that men were concerned about resting their laptop on their groin or about things like horseback and bike riding increasing their chances of getting the disease.
TCF: There are a lot of misnomers and misinformation on the disease. To put a few of those to rest; the good news is, there has been no correlation that riding a bike or horse has any tie whatsoever to a testicular cancer diagnosis. So, ride on men, ride on. Also, it has not been proven that either laptops nor cell phones are directly linked to testicular cancer, however it is argued that they can lower sperm count/reproduction. It never hurts to play it safe, and turn those laptops into pillowtops.
TJ: Are there medical benefits in wearing well-fitting, comfortable underwear? We hear time and time again that it helps postoperative (after surgery).
TCF: There have definitely been independent studies done in the underwear arena on the health benefits and the importance of wearing well-fitting underwear. The consensus of one independent study is that ill-fitting underwear can restrict blood flow, and overheat the area that, well, you really don’t want to overheat, resulting in not only an uncomfortable situation, but a potential loss in sperm production.
As funny as it seems, underwear is a big deal in our business. At TCF, we obviously deal with men who need comfortable support, especially post-surgery. We have supplied numerous diagnosed TC patients with a pair of TJ’s, and it truly does make a difference in the days post surgery.
TJ: Other than a self-exam that assists in early detection, are there any preventative measures you can take?
TCF: It is a no brainer, but living a healthy lifestyle is a huge proponent to reducing your risk for all types of disease including testicular cancer. Being an advocate for your own health and knowing your body is extremely important. If something feels different, looks different, etc. see a doctor immediately.
TJ: What are you as an organization focused on this year?
TCF: As an organization our focus this year, as every year, is to raise as much awareness/education and provide support survivors and current patients as possible. We are creating an annual TCF Summit for TC survivors, which will include valuable break-out session, resources, tools, and a space to meet fellow survivors who can relate to their experience.
TJ: What are people most unaware about when it comes to testicular cancer?
TCF: Testicular Cancer is the most common cancer in males ages 15-34. It is also one of the most beatable cancers if caught early. A simple self-exam can save time, money, unnecessary treatment and ultimately save a life.
TJ: And, finally, what’s your biggest challenge in spreading your message?
TCF: When dealing with a demographic that is not always cognizant for their health, and teaching about a disease which affects the demographics “manhood” it is tough to educate and instill a sense of urgency in our target audience to perform a self-exam, and ultimately catch the disease before it spreads.
About Tommy John:
Tommy John is a men’s underwear company that is in the business of supporting men. As April is Testicular Cancer Awareness Month, Tommy John is partnering with the Testicular Cancer Foundation to help raise awareness and show their support for those affected by this disease. Throughout the month, Tommy John will also be donating a portion of their sales from their special edition TCF boxer briefs to help fund cancer research and care.
About the Testicular Cancer Foundation:
Testicular Cancer Foundation provides education and support to young men to raise awareness about testicular cancer, the most commonly diagnosed cancer among males ages 15 – 34. TCF supports families of testicular cancer patients and shares its resources with the medical and healthcare communities, schools and various young men’s groups.