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LANDSTUHL, Germany — There’s a potential killer that targets males ages 19 to 35, and Landstuhl Regional Medical Center hopes to make servicemembers more aware of it.

Roughly 8,000 cases of testicular cancer are diagnosed in the United States each year. The disease is highly treatable, according to medical center doctors, who have seen an increase in the disease because of the increased number of troops in the theater.

“We’re seeing a new testicular cancer patient a little bit more than once every two weeks,” said Dr. (Lt. Col.) Bennett Stackhouse, chief of urology.

Because of the rise in cases, Landstuhl’s oncology department is launching a testicular cancer awareness program Thursday. It is directed toward young soldiers and Kaiserslautern-area 11th- and 12th-grade boys.

“We’re also going to do it for all the soldiers here in the hospital and hopefully get all the soldiers that are coming in from Iraq, as well,” said Lyn McNulty, head oncology nurse at the hospital and director of the program.

Dr. (Maj.) Joseph Flynn and Dr. (Maj.) Tim Murphy will present the topic, which they hope will educate soldiers and open the lines of communication on the issue. The program will include a film in addition to a question-and-answer session.

“We’ve found — working in the chemo room — that [for] the majority of our soldiers that come in with this type of cancer, it’s been a lack of education,” said McNulty, who also has organized Landstuhl’s Look Good, Feel Better program for female cancer patients. “Some of that may come from a lack of education, but also a sexual barrier or a macho kind of thing.”

Five-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong and comedian Tom Green have brought the topic to the forefront and have been able to beat the disease.

“The fact is, we know if we catch it early, well over 90 percent of people will do very, very well,” Flynn said.

The program will be presented to soldiers during commanders calls, sergeants time and at special high school assemblies.

“It’s a difficult thing and we all giggle and laugh about it,” Flynn said. “But the fact of the matter is, it has to be spoken of.”

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