Young men are most at risk but testicular cancer is rare and curable, especially when caught early.
In case you didn’t know, April is testicular cancer awareness month. It’s worth being aware of changes to your testacles because around 2.400 men are diagnosed with the disease every year, and it most commonly affects men between the ages of 15 and 45.
In other words, many testicular cancer diagnoses come at an age when a man might be trying for a baby or have a young family. Around 60 men die of testicular cancer every year.
The good news is that most testicular cancers are cured. In fact, testicular cancer accounts for less than 1% of all cancer deaths in men in the UK and, over the last decade, testicular cancer mortality rates have decreased by more than a quarter (29%). Nearly all men diagnosed with testicular cancer in England and Wales survive their disease for ten years or more.
Nevertheless, like all cancers, the earlier it is diagnosed the better your chance of survival. That’s why it’s important to know something about the signs and symptoms of testicular cancer.
like all cancers the earlier it is diagnosed the better your chance of survival
Signs and symptoms
The first thing to know is that you’re probably not doing anything that will make testicular cancer more likely. It’s a bit more common in men who have a father or brother who had the disease, and in men who were born with undescended teticles. But no lifestyle factors have been conclusively linked with it.
But hey, stop smoking anyway, for all sorts of reasons. And it’s always a good idea for dads to stay healthy.
The most common symptoms of testicular cancer are a painless lump or swelling in in one of the testicles, or any change in the shape or texture of the testicles.
Other potential symptoms are a bit vague, like a feeling of heaviness in the testicles, or a dull ache (or sharp pain) that comes and goes. If you notice any change in your testicles, take a trip to the GP. It’s unlikely to be cancer – non-cancerous lumps and swellings in the scrotum are common (research has shown that less than 4% of scrotal lumps or swellings are cancerous) – but your doctor will be able to say for sure.
Checking your balls
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today we learned about, you guessed it, testicles aka balls aka nuts. did you know smoking weed can increase the likelihood of developing testicular cancer? it’s important to do monthly self checks if you have testicles! any lumps or bumps need to be reported to your doctor🍋🍋
Because testicular cancer is curable when caught early, it’s worth getting to know your balls like the back of your hand. That means checking them for unusual lumps and bumps regularly, and certainly every month.
According to cancer charity Macmillan, “a normal testicle should feel smooth and firm, but not hard.”
The best time to check is during or after a warm bath or shower (cold makes your testacles retreat upwards towards your warm body). Hold your scrotum in in the palm of your hand, and use your fingers and thumb to examine each testicle.
It’s usual for testicles to be slightly different in size and one to hang lower than the other. There’s lots of detailed information on performing a self-check in this leaflet.
It’s important to be aware of the look and feel of your testacles, and to see a doctor if you notice any change. But the best news about your balls is that testicular cancer is rare, and is almost always curable, especially when caught early.
Here is a factsheet from hims for further information.