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YOUR HEALTH: Preventing the spread of testicular cancer

Self exams are an important tool in early detection.

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — We all know how important breast self-exams are for women, but did you know testicle self-exams can be a lifesaver for men? In fact, testicular cancer is the most common cancer found in young men ages 15 to 30 years old. Almost 10,000 will be diagnosed with it this year. The first sign is a lump, often found during a self-exam. Now, there’s a less invasive way to remove it and help these young men become cancer-free.

Antonio Flores loves everything about cars.

“My dream car will be like a Porsche but my dream car right now, I bought it already,” Antonio exclaims.

Even during chemotherapy treatments, Antonio spends days working on his cars.

He says, “You get moving, you get going, and you learn about how fascinating people can make something just with metal and a few bolts.”

So, when he was told he had testicular cancer, he just wanted it fixed. Antonio wanted whatever treatment that got him back to work the quickest.

Doctors decided to remove Antonio’s testicle and after weeks of chemo, they found more cancer in his lymph nodes.

“Chemotherapy makes the lymph nodes more stuck to the vessels and more difficult to remove,” surgeon and urologist at the Mays Cancer Center of UT Health San Antonio, Dr. Ahmed Mansour, explains.

Dr. Mansour is one of the few surgeons using a less invasive, more precise robotic surgery to remove the lymph nodes without harming the major blood vessels.

Instead of an incision running the length of Antonio’s torso, Dr. Mansour has adapted robotic surgery, using five small half-inch incisions to remove the lymph nodes.

“After everything was removed, the big lymph node is no longer there,” Dr. Mansour demonstrates to Ivanhoe.

The less invasive operation means less chance of infection, less blood loss, less pain – cutting hospital stays down to two days, and recovery to two weeks.

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Antonio is cancer free and focused on getting married at Disney to the young lady who rode shotgun through it all.

Doctors recommend that men ages 15 to 55 perform a monthly self-examination to find any changes.

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If this story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Denise Hnytka at denise.hnytka@wqad.com or Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at mthomas@ivanhoe.com.

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