Entries in Testicular Cancer (4)


Texas School Basketball Team Rallies Around Player with Cancer

The Nicholas Family(FRISCO, Texas) -- A high school basketball team in Texas is proving the old adage, “there’s no ‘I’ in team,” true by rallying around a senior player diagnosed with testicular cancer.

Justin Nicholas, 18, a senior at Wakeland High School in Frisco, Texas, was diagnosed with testicular cancer in late December after discovering lumps on his body.  Doctors found the cancerous tumors had spread to Nicholas’ lymph nodes, stomach and neck, forcing the four-year basketball player, who had been playing basketball up to a week before his Christmas Eve surgery, to cut his senior season short.

Nicholas’ teammates on the Wakeland varsity team responded by rallying to his aid, holding “pass the bucket” fundraising drives at the halftime of their home games and holding a “shoot-a-thon” to raise money to help defray his medical costs.

“The insurance is paying some of the costs but each time he goes into the hospital [for chemotherapy] it’s a five-day stay,” Nicholas’ mother, Gayla, told ABC News.  “He just did a stem cell collection in case he needs a transplant in the future.  We don’t even have any idea what the total is going to be.”

Nicholas will begin his fourth round of chemotherapy treatment next week. In between his treatments he’s been a fixture on the sidelines and last week he got the chance to shoot the last bucket of his high school basketball career.

The team honored Nicholas on its senior night Feb. 12, presenting him with a signed team poster, the game ball and allowing Nicholas to score the first basket of the game against Heritage High School.

“Justin never thought he’d get to play again so that meant a lot, that his coach did that for him,” Gayla Nicholas said, also noting that the opposing team, Heritage High, gave the family a $500 check -- $100 of their own donations along with $400 raised by another local high school.

In all, Gayla Nicholas says, the basketball team and Wakeland High have raised almost $15,000 for Nicholas and his treatment.  Friends of the family -- which also includes Nicholas' dad, Wayne, and brother, Drew -- and the local Frisco community have also made donations and tributes on his Caring Bridge page.

Nicholas is being home-schooled for his final semester of high school and still planning to attend the University of Arkansas in the fall.  After his fourth round of chemotherapy is completed early next month, doctors will do a full-body scan to see if his tumors are continuing to shrink and then decide on the next course of treatment.

“That’ll be a fork in the road where we have to make more decisions,” Gayla Nicholas said.

The generosity from his fellow teammates and the medical team working to get him well have already led Nicholas towards a major decision himself.

The student, once planning to major in sports marketing in college, is now leaning towards a career in nursing, his mother said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Man Takes Pregnancy Test as Joke, Finds Testicular Tumor

Styockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A Reddit post about a man's positive pregnancy test appears to have alerted him to a testicular tumor.

The man, whose name has not been made public, was shocked to see two pink lines after jokingly taking the test, which had been left in his bathroom cabinet by an ex-girlfriend.

The strange scene was drawn out as a comic and submitted to the website Reddit, where it drew more than 1,280 comments in three days from concerned strangers.

"You may have testicular cancer! Get to an oncologist, tell them you took a pregnancy test and it came out positive," one Redditor wrote.

Sure enough, a trip to the doctor revealed a tiny lump in the man's right testicle.

Pregnancy tests detect beta human chorionic gonadotropin, a hormone in the blood and urine produced by the developing placenta.  Experts say beta hCG can also signal testicular cancer.

"It turns out a fair number of testicular cancers make the same exact hormone," said Dr. Mark Pomerantz, a genitourinary oncologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.  "There are very few things in the body that produce beta hCG, and testicular cancer is one of them."

The tumor was caught early, according to the Reddit thread.  But the man might have to have his right testicle surgically removed.

"The testicle usually has to come out.  But we're lucky with this disease, in that the vast majority of cases -- even if they're caught further along -- are still very curable," said Pomerantz.

The 5-year survival rate for testicular cancer confined to the testicle is 99 percent, according to the American Cancer Society.  Even if the disease has spread to nearby lymph nodes and other organs, requiring radiation and chemotherapy, the 5-year survival rate is 72 percent.

"It's one of the only solid tumors that can be reliably cured by even if it has metastasized," said Pomerantz.

While a positive pregnancy test can be a fluky clue, the first sign of testicular cancer is usually a painless lump.

"It's typically spotted by the guy himself," said Dr. Christopher Wood, professor and deputy chairman of urology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.  "We recommend men do self-exam in the shower once a month to make sure there aren't any major changes."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Marijuana Use Tied to Testicular Cancer Risk

iSrtockphoto/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- Young men who use marijuana have a higher risk of testicular cancer, a new study found.

The study of 455 Californian men found those who had smoked pot were twice as likely to have been diagnosed with testicular germ cell tumors, the most common form of testicular cancer in men younger than 35.

"Testicular cancer is on the rise," said study author Victoria Cortessis, assistant professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles. "So we asked, 'What is it that young men are doing more frequently that could account for the increased risk?'"

Cortessis and colleagues used interviews to probe recreational drug use among 163 men diagnosed with testicular cancer and 292 healthy men of the same age, and found those who smoked marijuana had double the risk of testicular tumors compared with men who passed on grass. On top of that, their tumors tended to be faster-growing and tougher to treat.

"Most men who get testicular cancer today survive, and that's wonderful. But as a result of treatment, they may have problems with fertility or sexual function," said Cortessis. "So we're talking about the risk of developing the cancer in the first place as well as the subsequent effects of the cancer and its treatment."

The study, published today in the journal Cancer, adds to mounting evidence that smoking marijuana may have lasting effects on men's fertility and overall health.

"We now have three studies connecting marijuana use to testicular cancer, and no studies that contradict them," said Stephen Schwartz, an epidemiologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle and author of the first study linking marijuana use to testicular cancer in 2009. "I think we should start taking notice."

The National Cancer Institute estimates more than 8,500 men will be diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2012. About 360 of them will die from it.

But how marijuana affects the risk of testicular cancer is unclear. In animal studies, marijuana smoke and the cannabis chemical tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, reduce levels of circulating hormones like testosterone.

"We know testosterone is an important regulator of testes development and function," said Cortessis. "It may be that marijuana use disrupts this regulation in a way that makes the testes much more vulnerable to cancer."

Cortessis suspects boys who experiment with marijuana during puberty might be particularly susceptible. In her study, the risk of testicular cancer was higher among men who smoked less than once a week and for fewer than 10 years.

"Guys who tried it and abandoned it may have been very young," she said, adding that her study was too small to tease out age-related risks. "We plan to investigate the possibility that men who use marijuana during puberty may be especially vulnerable, which makes sense if marijuana is disrupting the hormone signaling that directs the testes to maturity."

But other factors could be at play, as men who use marijuana are more likely to drink and use other drugs. However, Cortessis found men who used cocaine were actually less likely to develop testicular cancer – a result that might reflect the drug's toxic effects.

"My suspicion is that the effect of cocaine is to kill the germ cells so they're not there," she said, describing how cocaine cuts testicular size and function in mice. "It's more analogous to a mastectomy to reduce the risk of breast cancer. And for a young guy, that would be high price to pay."

Cortessis and Schwartz agree more work is needed to uncover how marijuana use affects testicular cancer risk, but said men "shouldn't assume smoking marijuana has no impact on your health," according to Schwartz.

"I think at this stage of knowledge men deserve to be informed of this," said Cortessis. "It's not a huge body of work, but the results are so consistent that it's very unlikely this is due to chance."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Pig Sells for $20K -- Money Goes to Cancer Patient

Adam Gault/Thinkstock(TRENTON, Fla.) -- One Florida 10-year-old had big plans for his 255-pound pig. Chandler Beach, with help from the Suwannee River Fair, has raised more than $20,000 from the sale of his pig, all to help an 18-year-old boy who is battling cancer for the second time.

Bids started coming in Wednesday after Chandler told a fair volunteer about his plan to donate the proceeds from his pig’s sale to Corbin Wiggins, an athlete at Trenton High School. When Chandler stepped into the arena, the auctioneer stopped to announce that the boy would be giving the money to a friend of his who is battling cancer. This was the first time Chandler had shown an animal.

“Usually, they go for about $3 a pound,” Jennifer Beach, Chandler’s grandmother, told ABC News. “It went to $8 a pound, and we thought it was over, but it just kind of exploded from there.”

“It originally sold for $8 and we were thrilled,” Angie Wiggins, Corbin’s mother, told ABC News. “I ended up leaving early when it was at $62 a pound because that was after an hour of people sending in bids continuously.”

And the bids are still coming. Chandler’s pig, which he has been raising since November, was at $82 a pound as of Thursday night, Beach said. Although the fair is over, bidding for the pig will be extended until Friday, March 30. A representative for the fair could not be reached for comment.

“It spread like wildfire, and everyone kept giving out love,” Beach said. “It was just amazing, absolutely amazing.”

Corbin’s battle began last June when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. The Wiggins thought he was clear in November until a hit during a basketball game landed him in the hospital. A few days later, the family received the call that the cancer was back. Corbin couldn’t attend Wednesday’s bidding because he’d had a fever the night before.

“He was pretty upset that he missed it,” Wiggins said. “He is just so happy for what Chandler has done, because he’s been a godsend. He is definitely an angel.”

Four weeks ago, Chandler, who loves the rodeo, woke up giddy in his Trenton, Fla., home.

“I know what I’m going to do with my pig money,” he told his grandmother. “I’m going to give it to Corbin Wiggins.”

Beach said it was completely his idea. She asked if he had plans to keep a portion of the proceeds.

“No,” he said. “The good Lord said to give him all of it.”

Chandler and Corbin had never met before. Chandler learned about Corbin’s story in the local newspaper. Chandler’s mother, Misty, called Wiggins asking if it would be OK for Chandler to donate the money.

“I told her to talk him out of it, because that’s a lot of money,” Wiggins said. “But Misty said he was adamant.”

The boys met two weeks ago, and really hit it off, Wiggins said.

“Chandler is so kind-hearted and this has been so overwhelming what he did,” Wiggins said.

Corbin’s cancer returned just as he turned 18, so he missed out on a trip through the Make-a-Wish Foundation, Wiggins said. Chandler’s goal was to raise enough money so Corbin could go to Disney World and be a kid for a few days. Wiggins says he will definitely get it.

"Give the money to Corbin and the glory to God,” Chandler said. “I’m just in the middle.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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