Testicular cancer is not a very common type of cancer, but it can happen at any age between 15 and 45. Unfortunately, testicular cancer cannot be prevented just yet. This is why early detection and precaution is always recommended!
What is the best way to detect testicular cancer early?
Self-checks of your testicles are highly recommended to do in a warm shower once a month. This means being familiar with the look, feel and shape of your testicles.
Here’s how to perform a self-exam:
- Set aside five minutes while you’re in the shower. A warm shower will relax the scrotum and the muscles holding the testicles, making an exam easier.
- Starting with one side, gently roll the scrotum with your fingers to feel the surface of the testicle.
- Check for any lumps, bumps or unusual features. Contrary to what many assume, cancerous tumors typically aren’t painful.
- Make note of any changes in size over time. While the most common symptom of testicular cancer is a painless mass, some men experience swelling of the testicles and scrotum.
- Be aware of any dull soreness or heaviness.
- Switch sides and check the other testicle.
When should you see your doctor?
Symptoms to look out for when doing your testicular self-checks include:
- A lump or swelling in either testicle
- A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
- A dull ache in the lower belly or groin
- Sudden swelling in the scrotum
- Pain or discomfort in a testicle or the scrotum
- Enlargement or tenderness of the breast tissue
- Back pain
If you notice any changes in the feel or look of your testicles, it is always worth booking a consultation with your GP at Parkhill Medical Centre. Even if it ends up being nothing to worry about, it is better to be safe than sorry! Your doctor will do a physical examination and may then provide you with a referral for some further testing.
Remember: There is no shame to seek help!
What does treatment for testicular cancer look like?
The treatment often requires a surgical operation called an orchidectomy; the removal of the affected testicle. In some cases, further treatment such as chemotherapy may also be needed. Your GP will refer you to a specialist in managing testicular cancer as soon as the diagnosis is suspected or confirmed.