UT student diagnosed with testicular cancer at 17 years old shares story to educate others

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — April is Testicular Cancer Awareness Month.

It is a time when men are encouraged to learn the signs and symptoms of the serious illness, and for Norman Torres, it’s a time to educate.

“It was just a really hard time especially junior year when you are preparing for college applications and you want everything to go perfect,” said Torres. “It was not a part of my plan then again cancer is not a part of anyone’s plan.”

Norman was diagnosed with testicular cancer in high school at 17 years old and is now a senior at The University of Texas in Austin. He has been cancer-free for almost five years.

“Testicular cancer is one of the most common cancers in young men and we don’t know that,” Torres said. “It is not something talked about and it is so common that you would expect for us to talk about it, but we don’t.”

Dr. Christopher Sweeney, a medical oncologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, says early testing and screening can save lives.

“About 1 in 270 men will get testicular cancer and with a cure rate of about 95% about 1 in 7,000 will actually die of it,” said Sweeney. “What we have seen actually is later presentation leads to worse outcomes.”

Campaigns and groups like Movember have formed to spread awareness and push men to get screened, but also self-check for any signs.

“Movember is a fantastic global organization that gets men and women involved in men’s health,” Sweeney said.

The more you know the better and that is one reason Garza is educating his friends and other young men about the signs of testicular cancer and what happens if you are diagnosed with testicular cancer.

“Everyone has a story and it is worth telling because you never know if someone might be going through the same thing you are going through or might go through it in the future,” Torres said.

Movember has a self examination help page on its website.

With people concerned over trips to the doctor’s office because of potential exposure to COVID-19, many people might be putting off a diagnosis that needs immediate attention. Sweeney says if you are showing any signs of cancer get checked immediately.

“Yes, this is 100% crucial that this be prioritized, and hospitals prioritize conditions like this rather than people going in for a cholesterol check, ” Sweeney said. “So, yes it is a real concern.”

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