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ONTARIO — A pregnancy test taken as a joke turned out to be a lifesaver for an Ontario man who was diagnosed with testicular cancer because of it.
The man, who wished to remain anonymous due to the sensitive nature of the story, decided to take a pregnancy test left in his medicine cabinet by a former girlfriend. He was shocked — and amused — when two pink lines appeared, and a friend posted a comic about it on the link sharing website Reddit.
Users of the site were concerned about the false positive, though. The first of more than 1,600 comments on the post read "If this is true, you should check yourself for testicular cancer. Seriously. Google it."
Pregnancy tests can detect a certain type of testicular cancer because the tests look for a hormone called Human chorionic gonadotropin — HCG — which is produced during pregnancy, but also by men who are suffering from a type of testicular cancer called choriocarcinoma.
The man visited a doctor, who found a small tumor but said that because it had been caught early, it could be treated immediately, according to the Toronto Star.
The man's diagnosis came as Movember — a month-long campaign to raise awareness for men's health — kicked off worldwide. Movember focuses primarily on prostate and testicular cancers and mental health, as of this year, and is getting attention in relation to the Ontario man's choriocarcinoma diagnosis.
Choriocarcinoma is aggressive, often spreading to other areas of the body before its victim is aware he has it, and usually strikes in men age 30 and younger. The cancer makes up less than 1 percent of all testicular cancer diagnoses, though, so doctors urge patients to administer self-tests and see the doctor regularly, rather than relying on a pregnancy test.