Testicular cancer treatment has changed over time.
Today, the survival rate of testicular cancer is greater than 95%. Yet, that wasn’t the case with Tom Boerger received his diagnosis in 1993. Back then, doctors gave him a 13% chance of survival.
Twenty-six years ago, that meant surgery for the Jamestown resident, followed by another surgery to remove a lung and receive a bone marrow transplant.
That’s why early detection and #GROWvember mean so much to Boerger. Had he acted sooner, he said, perhaps the cancer wouldn’t have spread and he might still have two lungs.
Jamestown Regional Medical Center celebrates men’s health below the belt each #GROWvember. It’s a fun way to talk about a serious cause – men’s health below the belt.
“Guys are more prone to procrastinate. They fear it might happen to them,” he said.
Preventative screenings may be uncomfortable, but cancer is worse.
“It’s scary when they talk about removing the testicle. Would I be able to have kids? Would I be able to function?” Boerger asked.
Today, the answer is usually – you can have your life again, said Dr. Robert J. Bates, JRMC urologist. Thanks to advancements in medicine, most men can still father children and keep sexual function.
“I encourage all men but especially young men to do a regular self-examination of the scrotal contents and seek advice if you feel anything that feels abnormal or new,” Dr. Bates said. “Testicular cancer is one of the most treatable diseases in men. Seek advice. ”
Testicular cancer, often known as a young man’s disease, is the most common cancer for American men ages 15-35. About one in every 350 men will receive a testicular cancer diagnosis in his lifetime.
Boerger encourages friends and supports them in getting the care they need. He refers them to get the care at JRMC. He also speaks highly of the JRMC Cancer Center, which opened in June 2019.
“Jamestown Regional Medical Center goes to extensive lengths to meet the needs of the whole patient,” Boerger said. “They are ultra-careful to manage all symptoms.”
Boerger says he can speak to the quality of care as a patient and as the dad of an employee. His daughter, Andrea, enrolled in a clinical rotation with Dr. Steve Inglish in JRMC’s Emergency Department.
“Everyone at JRMC likes to work here and is proud to work here,” she said. “The morale is unreal.”
That translates into better care.
“The people in the Emergency Department develop relationships with the people in their care. Those people aren’t just numbers. The team cares for them on a personal level.”
Today, her dad is “100% living life to the fullest,” Andrea said. Since retirement, he spends his time at the gym, volunteering with the Orphan Grain Train and engaging in his most favorite of pastimes, fishing. Next fall, he plans to walk Andrea down the aisle.
“I can’t wait for my dad to give me away in September,” she said. “Neither one of us knew if we’d get this chance.”
In the meantime, Boerger has advice for the public.
“Go see your doctor if you feel anything,” he said. “And see them right away.”