A couple of months ago, our 25 year old son found a hard lump in one of his testicles. It turned out to be cancer. Thank God, the tumor was removed and there is no sign that the cancer had spread anywhere else in his body. The oncologist told us that although it is a rare cancer, it is the most common type of cancer in men in the 18 to 30 age group, and again in men who are over 65, but it occurs in all age groups.
I started to wonder if the fact that my husband was heavily exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam had anything to do with our son developing cancer. I asked the doctors, but they just shrugged. I know of a number of Vietnam vets who had children born after their return from combat. Quite a few of those children have had puzzling symptoms. Apparently no one thinks to ask our children, when they are examined, if their fathers were ever exposed to these highly toxic herbicides. And I don’t know if it occurs to us to tell their doctors. And even if we did, there have been no comprehensive studies that I know of to follow our husbands for diseases which might be Agent Orange related, much less their children. Our children don’t get treatment at VA hospitals. Neither do a lot of our husbands who served in combat in Vietnam, but, for various reasons, have not been evaluated for Agent Orange exposure.
There is no guessing how many of our children might have health problems due to the Agent Orange exposure of their fathers. Extensive surveys and studies would have to be done to determine if our children have higher rates of health problems than the general population. I don’t know if it would even be possible to do it.
This is all pure speculation on my part.
However, there is one thing I do know. Men need to do testicular self-exams. Men don’t usually go to doctors unless something is wrong and they are brow-beaten into it by their wives. Men don’t routinely get told to do monthly exams, or how to do them by their doctors. My son ran across a website that blinked a link to a site which explained how to do it, and was lucky enough to find the lump early enough. If that hadn’t happened he might not have found the tumor before the cancer spread throughout his body. This is one of the most curable of all cancers, but if no one is telling our men to check themselves, as they tell us women to do breast self-exams monthly, how will they know to do it? So I am telling you. All men, from puberty on: DO A TESTICULAR SELF-EXAM EVERY MONTH!
The following website address will take you to a page which will show how to do a self-exam: http://tcrc.acor.org/tcexam.html If you find something suspicious, follow up with your doctor immediately. If you don’t have a computer, ask your doctor how to do this very important exam on yourself.
The life you save may be your own.
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