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A Pregnancy Test Saves a Man's Life
A post on the social networking site Reddit started out as a joke. But, it quickly turned deadly serious.
The user made and posted a cartoon, talking about how he used his ex-girlfriend's pregnancy test. To his surprise or to his horror he said he was pregnant.
Soon his feed was flooded with people telling him he may have testicular cancer. Turns out he did. The pregnancy test and the Reddit users saved his life.
Austin urologist Dr. Parviz Kavoussi says a pregnancy test picks up a hormone called Beta H-C-G.
"This is Human Chorionic Gonadotropin and that's actually typically a hormone made by the developing placenta," Dr. Kavoussi said. "That's how we identify pregnancies in those urine pregnancy tests."
But, Dr. Kavoussi says Beta H-C-G is also produced by some testicular cancers that's why the test was positive.
"That's a very amazing story and it was very fortunate it was found in that manner," Dr. Kavoussi said.
The American Cancer Society says almost half of all cases of testicular cancer are in men between the ages of 20 and 34.
"Pretty much the three scariest words in the English language are you have cancer," said testicular cancer survivor Chris Brewer.
He heard those words at 33. He was diagnosed with testicular cancer at a doctor's office not with a pregnancy test. But after beating cancer he says men need to be more like women.
"They get regular healthcare checkups," Brewer said. "They take action if needed. They know their family history and they share that with their doctor. This is nothing men can't do it's just something we don't do."
Brewer lost his brother to stomach cancer and now works with the Livestrong Foundation and says if caught early testicular cancer has a 95-percent cure rate. But, Chris and Dr. Kavoussi say the pregnancy test is not a very reliable test.
"This is one anecdotal test and it's an amazing story but it hasn't given us the type of evidence we need to say yeah this should be used regularly," said Dr. Kavoussi. "You're going to miss a lot of testicular cancers if you're just relying on that."
Brewer says at least he took some action and didn't wait until it was too late.
"The point is that he saw something out of the ordinary and he was encouraged to take action and that's one of the biggest issues in men's health," Brewer said.
By Walt Maciborski