Young men need to be made aware of the signs of early testicular cancer, say experts. With 800 Australian men diagnosed each year, charity DT38 has been established to help improve local awareness.
The charity was set up in the name of Dylan Tombides, a young Australian footballer who died from the disease after being misdiagnosed at the age of 17.
Natasha Evans, the Managing Director of DT38 told ECU Daily, “Dylan’s Mum started the charity because of the lack of awareness that there is in Australia and the UK, when it comes to Testicular Cancer.”
“It also came about because of the general response from a lot of Dylan’s friends.
“None of them really had any idea that it was a young person’s disease, and only started to learn about it when Dylan was going through his battle.”
Testicular cancer is the second most common form of the disease in men that affects 15 in 100,000 Australians annually.
Young men aged between 20 and 40 are most at risk of developing the disease, according to male reproductive centre, Andrology Australia.
Urological surgeon Dr Shane La Bianca of Perth Urology Clinic told ECU Daily that early diagnosis was important.
“The cancer is stage dependent,” said Dr La Bianca.
“If it is stage one – an early diagnosis – and restricted to just the testes, there is a 98% chance of survival over five years.
“But if it is diagnosed late, and has spread to the nodes or lungs, then the chance of survival drops below 70%.”
Evans said young men need to be provided with information about the disease, and how to look out for it.
DT38 goes to schools in WA and the UK, educating young men about the disease. “We teach kids about what to do if they do present with symptoms,” said Evans.
“We give them the necessary knowledge and skills to take their health matters into their own hands, helping them know what to say when they go to the doctors.”
According to Cancer Australia, about five Australian men die from testicular cancer each year.
Twice a year DT38, in conjunction with Ultrasound Services Applecross, offer free screenings for men aged 15 to 45. “The response we get from those screenings is fantastic as a lot of these guys initially were scared,” said Evans, “but we have some of our ambassadors come and do it, encouraging others to.”
“It’s a five minute scan, and usually they come out saying it was not as daunting as they first thought it would be, and they come out with their minds put at ease.”
DT38 also work with football clubs across the country and over in the UK with a partnership set up with Dylan’s former club, West Ham. “A lot of our ambassadors are local footballing icons,” said Evans.
“We have professional and international footballers, such as the captain of the Socceroos Mile Jedinak.
“We also work with West Ham and Perth Glory players.
“These are the kids’ role models, so they are more inclined to really take something from the message and remember it.”
In March, a football match between the Manchester United Legends and the PFA Aussie Legends was played in Perth to raise money for the charity.
“For us the biggest thing was the awareness raised by the event,” said Evans.
“Having Manchester United at the event promoting it gave us a database of millions of people who have now seen information about the charity.
“The Manchester United foundation also want to get involved and hopefully train up their staff to do the same thing.”
Andrology Australia encourages men to regularly check themselves for lumps in the testes and according to Dr La Bianca, “If people think they may have found something, they should see their doctor and get a referral for an ultrasound.”
Article was originally published on ECUDaily.com.au