Surviving Testicular Cancer: A Movember Story from Spain

*The translation of this article in French and Portuguese has been made through machine translation and has not been edited yet. we apologise for any inaccuracies.

Did you grow a moustache this November? Movember is an important month to raise much needed awareness around men’s health. Read more about the Movember movement and Vincente Borrego’s personal story about surviving testicular cancer.

Each year, the Movember Foundation encourages men worldwide to grow a moustache during the month of November in the hope of raising awareness for men’s health issues such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and suicide prevention.

The Movember Foundation is the leading charity worldwide in support of men’s health. By encouraging open conversations about sensitive men’s health topics, Movember seeks to break down stigmas and empower men to take charge of their health. The movement also significantly contributes to research and support services, ensuring men facing these health challenges are not alone.

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To highlight the men’s perspective on this initiative, we spoke with Vincente Borrego, a testicular cancer survivor from Spain, who shares his experience overcoming his cancer diagnosis.

Twenty-three years ago, at the age of 43, Vincente received a life-altering diagnosis of testicular cancer. It all began when he noticed an abnormality while showering – a hard lump on one of his testicles. Within one week, he saw his doctor and underwent various tests including a biopsy that quickly confirmed his cancer diagnosis. Despite being told that he was sterile due to the cancer, Vincente, already a father of two, found solace in the fact that this news did not significantly affect his future.

Surviving Testicular Cancer - Movember - men's health

Testicular Cancer Self-exam and Early Detection

Testicular cancer, though relatively rare, affects many men worldwide. Globally, more than 109,000 men are diagnosed with testicular cancer each year.* The condition primarily affects younger men, typically between the ages of 15 and 49.

Despite its relatively high treatability, especially when caught early, testicular cancer continues to be a source of mortality. At least 10,000 men die from testicular cancer annually. However, advancements in treatment over the past few decades have significantly improved survival rates. New treatments, including more effective chemotherapy regimens and surgical techniques, have increased the five-year survival rate to over 95%.

This positive trend highlights the importance of testicular cancer awareness, early detection, and access to quality healthcare. Regular self-exams are critical, as they can lead to early diagnosis when treatment is most effective. Common testicular cancer symptoms include lumps, swelling, or discomfort in the testicles. Various resources are available to educate men on how to perform self-exams, an essential step in early detection.

Follow this guide to perform self-exams for testicular cancer.

To diagnose testicular cancer, doctors may perform a physical exam, an ultrasound, and blood tests to check for tumour markers. Upon diagnosis, treatment options vary based on the cancer stage and the patient’s overall health. The doctor may recommend surgery to remove the affected testicle, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or simply monitoring without immediate treatment.

Men's health - Movember - surviving testicular cancer

Testicular Cancer Treatments and Recovery

Vincente underwent chemotherapy and surgery for his diagnosis. As a result, over the past two decades, he has led a normal life, although with some initial challenges. “The first 3-4 years it was hard for me to overcome it. The doctor recommended that I play sports and maintain an active life,” Vincente shares. While there were limited support resources for him at the time, Vincente relied on his inner strength and focused on his daily work to keep his mind occupied. He explains, “This way I managed to make the days shorter and not let my thoughts flood me.” He attributes his successful recovery to his resilience and determination. Vincente emphasises the importance of approaching a testicular cancer diagnosis with a positive mindset even though it can be difficult. He encourages newly diagnosed patients to stay brave and move forward, reminding them that the psychological impact can be more substantial than the disease itself.

Vincente’s message is clear: keep pushing forward and know there is hope and a life to live after a cancer diagnosis. In his journey, Vincente discovered there are many cancer survivors out there, proving that overcoming this challenge is feasible. Although his experience lacked the extensive support resources available today, such as the Movember movement, his resilience and determination can serve as inspiration to those currently facing testicular cancer, letting them know they are not alone.

Vincente’s journey is a powerful reminder that by sharing our stories, we not only provide support and inspiration to others but also contribute valuable insights that can guide the development of future therapies. If you or a loved one has been affected by testicular cancer, consider sharing your experience by becoming an M3 panel member.

Together, through movements like Movember and platforms that elevate patient experiences, we can continue to make strides in understanding and combating men’s health issues, ensuring a future where diagnoses like testicular cancer are met with informed optimism and robust support.

Movember - Testicular cancer - men's health

If you or a loved one has experienced testicular cancer, you can contribute to healthcare advancements by sharing your experiences in paid market research studies

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