Did you know every hour a male is diagnosed with testicular cancer? In fact, testicular cancer is the most diagnosed cancer in men between the ages of 15 to 35, according to the Testicular Cancer Awareness Foundation. About one in every 263 males will develop testicular cancer at some point during his life. Testicles are part of the male reproductive system and have two main functions: making male hormones and making sperm. Yet while there are parades and runs and t-shirts for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, there is comparatively very little attention paid to Testicular Cancer. The month of April has been designated as Testicular Cancer Awareness Week.
Men may experience few or no symptoms of testicular cancer. However, see your doctor immediately if you experience any of these warning signs:
- Swelling or a lump in either testicle, usually painless.
- A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum.
- Change in the size or shape of the testicle.
- Sudden buildup of fluid in the scrotum.
- Pain or discomfort.
Because there are very few symptoms of testicular cancer, there is no substitute for regular self-examination. Know your body! Be familiar with the size and shape of your testicles and if something isn’t right, see your doctor immediately. Testicular Cancer often appears in only one testicle so comparing them to each other can help make an early diagnosis. Performing a self-exam is easy!
How to Self-exam:
- CUP: Cup one testicle at a time using both hands. Best performed during or after a warm shower.
- EXAMINE: Examine each testicle gently with both hands by rolling the testicle between the thumb and fingers using slight pressure.
- GET FAMILIAR: Familiarize yourself with spermatic cord and epididymis, the tube like structures connected on the back side of each testicle.
- FEEL FOR CHANGES: Look for any changes in size, shape, or texture. Remember it’s normal for one testicle to be slightly larger.
If you notice a lump or any changes as mentioned above, you should seek medical advice and schedule an appointment immediately. Remember testicular cancer can spread very quickly and if detected early is one of the most curable cancers.
If diagnosed early, testicular cancer can be effectively treated and potentially cured. Advanced testicular cancer can be cured with treatment, including surgical removal of an affected testicle, usually followed by chemotherapy or radiotherapy to treat remaining cancer cells that may have spread to other parts of the body.
To learn more, visit the following websites:
Testicular Cancer Awareness Foundation – testicularcancerawarenessfoundation.org.
Testicular Cancer Society – testicularcancersociety.org.
American Cancer Society – Cancer.org.