Testicular Cancer

This blog is written by our clinicians and aims to keep patients informed with up to date information on medical conditions. The editor of the blog is Dr Cristina Romete.


Which is bigger?

I don’t mean to pry, but I’m curious to know whether you know – which is it – left or right? And which hangs lower? Oval-shaped, yes/no? Like mini-rugby balls? But do they hang upright, or lie to one side? Have they changed recently? How well do you really know yourself?

Testicles. They are just ‘there’, aren’t they? Rarely discussed, occasionally scratched, infrequently hitched to one side, they are often ignored. They do their job – supplying and storing sperm and manufacturing male hormones – and we generally leave them to it.

 

When was the last time you gave them an M.O.T. and properly checked them?

I’m talking a few minutes, in or after the shower. Can I recommend that you do? Monthly ought to do it (set a reminder on your phone) – especially if you have a relative with a history of testicular disease or if you were born with an ‘undescended’ testicle.

Because although it affects 1-2 in 100 males (relatively uncommon compared to some other cancers), testicular cancer is the commonest malignancy in the 15 – 49 age group. Most men just don’t know this. It peaks between 30-40 years but affects all ages, and the incidence is growing year on year – especially in the Western world.

 

What to look for?

Rest your scrotum in the palm of your hand, and gently roll each testicle between finger and thumb. Over 90% of cancers present with painless swellings – which may be as small as a pea, or even a grain of rice. Look out also for an ache or a dragging sensation, pain or a change in their hardness.

Easy for me to say – but try not to be alarmed. Reassuringly, over 98% of men with testicular cancer in the UK are cured, and survival rates have risen year on year since the 70’s.

 

If you have found something, tell your GP!

The earlier cancer is detected (or hopefully ruled out) the better. Unfortunately, men are too often reluctant to report changes or swellings, which can delay a vital second opinion and a painless ultrasound scan.

 

ROC is on hand to provide expert assessment, management and support. Get in touch to book an appointment or ask for more details.

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