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by Abigail Van Buren

Visit by Ex Mistress Would Cause Man's Family Distress

DEAR ABBY: I recently lost a friend to complications of testicular cancer. As a health-care worker and his grieving friend, I find it frustrating that there isn't more education and information available about this disease.

An entire month is dedicated to breast cancer -- which I think is wonderful -- but teaching young men about self-exams for testicular cancer is just as important.

Testicular cancer primarily affects males between the ages of 15 and 40. Symptoms are often chalked up to hormones or "growth changes" until it has spread to other parts of the body.

Testicular exams are simple to perform and take only a few minutes once a month. The best time to do them is after a warm bath or shower. Roll each testicle gently between the thumb and fingers of both hands. If you find ANY hard lumps or nodules, see your doctor promptly! With early detection and treatment, the chances of a complete recovery are excellent. -- CONCERNED IN EUGENE, ORE.

DEAR CONCERNED: I offer my sympathy for the loss of your friend. Men's health is certainly as important as women's, and I'm certain many of my male readers will thank you for taking the time to explain the examination and warning signs of testicular cancer. Men should also have periodic prostate and breast examinations.

The American Cancer Society is an excellent resource for cancer education, information and locations that offer emotional support.