Learning about Testicular Cancer
- Dan Abrams is a testicular cancer survivor with an abundantly successful career in news media. He’s also a father of two who became a cancer advocate after learning of another testicular cancer warrior’s story that took a very different turn from his.
- Symptoms of testicular cancer can be subtle. Some people may even confuse the early symptoms such as a small mass in their testicle as an injury. But when these signs are dismissed, the cancer can grow and become worse. Other signs can include breast growth or soreness, early puberty in boys, low back pain, shortness of breath, chest pain, a cough, belly pain, or headaches or confusion.
- Self examinations are incredibly important when it comes to screening for testicular cancer. Men aged 15 to 55 should perform a monthly self-examination to find any changes in the testes that might indicate cancer at an early stage.
- Testicular cancer survivors may come across issues with fertility after overcoming the disease, but this is not always the case. Either way, you should discuss possible side effects and fertility preservation options with your doctor before starting treatment.
Abrams first started making a name for himself as a court reporter for “Court TV” in the ’90s. His coverage of the OJ Simpson trial helped establish him as a nationally known legal reporter.Read More
And his list of current undertakings is just as extensive. He’s the CEO and Founder of Abrams Media, host of “Dan Abrams Live” on NewsNation, host of “On Patrol: Live” on Reelz, chief legal affairs correspondent for ABC News, host of SiriusXM radio’s “The Dan Abrams Show: Where Politics Meets The Law,” host and executive producer of “Court Cam” and “Under Oath” on A&E Network, owner of a winery and an author of multiple New York Times bestselling books.View this post on Instagram
View this post on Instagram
Abrams is also a doting father of two. His first child, a son, arrived in 2012 and then a daughter came along in 2021. He’s had both of his children with his longtime partner, businesswoman Florinka Pesenti, 44.
Dan Abrams’ Cancer Battle
As evidenced by the lengthy list above, Dan Abrams is many things. But he is also a cancer survivor and advocate.
Abrams was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2003. But he didn’t share the news of his diagnosis and successful course of treatment until he overcame the disease in 2004.
He wasn’t naturally inclined to publicly open up about his cancer battle, but all that changed when he learned about Sean Kimerling’s story.
Represented by the same talent agency as Abrams, Kimerling was a two-time Emmy award winning anchor of WPIX 11 sports and pre-game announcer for the NY Mets “on top of the world” at age 37. But all that changed in August of 2003.
“He had felt something in his testicle about a year and a half earlier, went to his general practitioner and was told it was nothing,” reads his bio on the website for the Sean Kimerling Testicular Cancer Foundation. “He had been bothered by back pain, which he assumed was due to a sports injury, and a doctor he went to prescribed medication for a kidney infection.
“Wrongly diagnosed for a long time, when the pain became unbearable, Sean was finally diagnosed with stage 4 testicular cancer. He died, just 1 month after being diagnosed on September 9, 2003. He was only 37.”
This heartbreaking story of a charismatic, young newscaster much like himself deeply touched Abrams. So much so that he decided to share his story on Kimerling’s behalf and become a board member of the testicular cancer foundation established in Kimerling’s memory.
“I am lucky. Not only did I survive, but now, it seems, I am cancer free and feeling as good as ever,” Abrams wrote in 2004. “Had Sean detected the disease earlier, he and I might have discussed our experiences in private.
“I hope that my willingness to go public can help other young men who, like Sean and me, never thought it could or would strike us.”
Understanding Testicular Cancer
A testicular cancer diagnosis is rare, but it is the most common form of cancer diagnosed in young men. Depending on the stage, the disease is considered extremely treatable. Treatment options can include chemotherapy and radiation, but often the first line of treatment is surgery to remove the testicle which contains the cancerous cells.
Symptoms of testicular cancer can be subtle. Some people may even confuse the early symptoms such as a small mass in their testicle as an injury. But when these signs are dismissed, the cancer can grow and become worse.
“It’s not uncommon to see men come in with masses on their scrotum and have inflammation of the scrotal wall; they develop pain as a result. A lump is the most common symptom of testicular cancer,” Dr. Edwin Posadas, the medical director of the Urologic Oncology Program at Cedars-Sinai Cancer, previously told SurvivorNet.
Dr. Posadas says some men may even notice blood in their ejaculate as a result of testicular cancer. “This symptom is less common, but always bad,” he said.
Other symptoms can include:
- Breast growth or soreness
- Early puberty in boys
- Low back pain (a potential symptom of advanced testicular cancer)
- Shortness of breath, chest pain, or a cough (a potential symptom of advanced testicular cancer)
- Belly pain – (a potential symptom of advanced testicular cancer)
- Headaches or confusion (a potential symptom of advanced testicular cancer)
Dr. Posadas urges young men to seek medical care if they are having symptoms. “Most men under the age of 40 tend not to think about seeing a doctor – they need to know to advocate for themselves,” he said.
Screening for Testicular Cancer
Testicular self-examination is one way to screen for this disease, Dr. Posadas says.
“It takes less than a minute,” Dr. Posadas previously told SurvivorNet. “Rub testicles through your fingers – looking for any sore areas. Rub the top of the testicle, particularly the delicate epididymis. (The epididymis is a tube at the back of the testicles which stores and carries sperm.)
“Don’t squeeze real hard on there… [You should] look for a smoother feel; if you feel a hard nodule on there, you may require blood work from a urologist. [Testicular cancer] is highly curable, even when it’s advanced.”
In a previous interview with SurvivorNet, Dr. Bradley McGregor, clinical director of the Lank Center for Genitourinary Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, also emphasized the importance of self-examinations.
“It is recommended that men aged 15 to 55 perform a monthly self-examination to find any changes to help find the cancer at an early stage,” Dr. McGregor said. And if someone spots any of the early symptoms, “he should visit his doctor immediately.” It’s important to be aware of your body and get in touch with a doctor if you notice anything unusual.
“Testicular cancer commonly occurs from ages 20-45, but it can occur at any age,” Dr. McGregor continued. “The highest risk factor for testicular cancer is a history of cryptorchidism, an undescended testicle, where the testicle does not move down into the scrotum before birth. Men with a family history of testicular cancer are at increased risk as well. No lifestyle changes have been shown to definitively reduce risk of testicular cancer.”
Fertility after Testicular Cancer
Testicular cancer survivors may come across issues with fertility after overcoming the disease, but this is not always the case. Treatment for this cancer can “affect hormone levels and can also affect your ability to father children after treatment,” according to the American Cancer Society, so you should discuss the possible effects with your doctor before beginning treatment to understand all the options you have at hand.
One route people with the disease can take it to store sperm in a sperm bank before treatment starts. But testicular cancer can result in low sperm counts, so getting a good sample may be tricky. Also, if only one testicle is left after treatment, fertility returns following treatment – typically about two years following chemotherapy.
But it’s important to remember that testicular cancer does not mean fatherhood is out of the question by any means – and some people who’ve overcome testicular cancer might not see any issues at all.
Todd Rosenbluth, for example, became a father after having testicular cancer. But when he and his wife wanted to start a family following his cancer battle, things were difficult despite his cancer not being an issue.
Rosenbluth was diagnosed with testicular cancer in his late 20s after his wife urged him to go to his annual appointment with his doctor. He then had surgery to remove one testicle and overcame the disease, but fertility issues came later despite his doctor telling him the couple’s struggles to have a child were unrelated to his cancer.
“Unrelated to the testicular cancer, my wife and I did have fertility issues,” Rosenbluth previously told SurvivorNet. “We had been trying for four years to have a child. They tell you it’s not related to the fertility issues at all. But in your head, when you’re having all these troubles, and you did lose a testicle, you feel the blame.”
Eventually, though, everything did work out. He and his wife had a beautiful son, Milo, in March 2018. That’s when Rosenbluth finally felt free from his past cancer battle.
“The safest I felt with my testicular cancer was when my son was born,” he said.