Rockies’ Chad Bettis working to bring awareness to testicular cancer

During his nine-month battle with testicular cancer, Rockies starting pitcher Chad Bettis often thought outside of

During his nine-month battle with testicular cancer, Rockies starting pitcher Chad Bettis often thought outside of himself.

First, he reached out to Pittsburgh pitcher Jameson Taillon, who underwent surgery for the same cancer on May 8. Taillon, fortunately,  didn’t have to endure chemotherapy as Bettis did, and he was back on the mound June 12, pitching against the Rockies in Pittsburgh.

Bettis also hooked up with Mike Craycroft, the founder of the Testicular Cancer Society. The two met at Coors Field on June 15, 11 years to the day that Craycroft was told he had testicular cancer.

“Having Chad speak out about his condition has been incredibly important for us to spread awareness,” Craycroft said. “We realize this is not the easiest disease for men to talk about, but Chad has been tremendous.”

Once Bettis is back in the Rockies’ starting rotation and his life has settled into a more normal routine, Craycroft and Bettis plan to map out plans to promote awareness of the disease.

“We think it’s important for people to know about this disease, because it’s the most common form of cancer for males, ages 15-35,” Craycroft said. “The biggest key is catching it early and getting treatment. Then you can get back to your normal life.”

Other facts that men should know about testicular cancer:

— Every year in the United States, an estimated 8,850 men are diagnosed with testicular cancer and 410 are estimated to die from the disease.

— Testicular cancer is one of the most treatable cancers, especially if caught early. If detected at an early stage, before it has spread, the survival rate is almost 100 percent, but if it’s caught at a late stage the rate drops to 74 percent.

— Approximately 1 in 250 men will be diagnosed with testicular cancer. Thanks to early detection and advanced treatments, only about 1 in 5,000 men will die from testicular cancer.

Bettis credits his wife, Kristina, for early detection of his cancer. At a prenatal checkup last November, Kristina’s obstetrician advised her to undergo a routine breast examination for any lumps that might develop during pregnancy. That started Bettis thinking, and that night, in the shower, he discovered a lump.

“When I get done with all of this, I’ve told myself I want to do something to spread awareness,” Bettis said. “I  felt like this was a disease that not a lot of young men understood. A lot of people know about breast cancer, but not everybody knows about this.”

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Article Rockies’ Chad Bettis working to bring awareness to testicular cancer compiled by www.denverpost.com