Puyallup

Sacks of Love? It's humor to raise testicular cancer awareness

Sacks of Love? It's humor to raise testicular cancer awareness »Play Video
Ryan Berg and his friends are trying to focus attention on the risk of testicular cancer among teens.
PUYALLUP, Wash. - You don't normally think of cancer and teenage boys, but there is one cancer, testicular, that specifically targets them. Some patients are diagnosed as young as age 12.

Now there's a rather young group in our state working to raise awareness.

Just a few guys, Nicholas Ost and Christopher Utterback, then-seniors at Puyallup High School, started the movement, called Sacks of Love.

In October, the annual month of pink, this group, now attending various colleges in Washington state, wants you to shift your focus to blue.

Ryan Krohn says, "You know the crown jewels. It's a play on words."

Ryan Berg adds, "Saving one nut at a time."

Since talking about testicles is taboo, these college students decided to use humor to get their message across.

Berg said, "We always throw around the phrase 'Busting our balls to save yours,'" Judah Piano says. "I love the humor of it."

About 8,000 young men will be diagnosed with testicular cancer this year and 370 will die.

Piano said, "You know it's curable, ridiculously curable if you catch it in the early stages."

So far, they've raised more than $20,000 to spread the word. They've also created a nationwide public service announcement. It showcases many different risks kids take - from that first dive off a board, trying a new trick on the snowboard or trying to snatch that first kiss.

Some risks, it says, are not worth taking - being too embarrassed to talk about their testicles - they say is one.

Berg said, "Knowing that my age bracket is most susceptible to testicular cancer really makes it real for me to bring light to this situation."

So while Sacks of Love communicates its message through humor, the group really tries to make a difference, asking guys to perform self-exams. Those exams can reveal early warning signs. Symptoms of testicular cancer include:

• A lump or enlargement in either testicle

• A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum

• A dull ache in the abdomen or groin

• A sudden collection of fluid in the scrotum

• Pain or discomfort in a testicle or the scrotum

• Enlargement or tenderness of the breasts

Though the rate of testicular cancer has increased in the United States, experts have not been able to find the reasons for it. Because treatment is so successful, the risk of dying from this cancer is very low.

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• For more information on Sacks of Love visit http://sacksoflove.org

• To see the full PSA visit http://vimeo.com/64280899

• The group is holding a fundraising 5K run on Oct. 19: http://sacksoflove.org/5k