MEN: TAKE YOUR HEALTH INTO YOUR OWN HANDS DURING APRIL’S TESTICULAR CANCER AWARENESS MONTH
TESTICULAR CANCER IS A YOUNG MAN’S DISEASE AND AWARENESS, EARLY DETECTION IS CRITICAL
An Important Message from the Urologists at Chesapeake Urology
Testicular cancer is not nearly as common as prostate cancer when it comes to men’s cancer. However, some 8,000 men are diagnosed with testicular cancer each year in the United States and about 350 men die from the disease.
But, perhaps what is most striking about this form of cancer is that it is a young man’s cancer, affecting adolescents and men between the ages of 15 to 35 years.
For this reason, testicular cancer can be tricky. Most adolescents and many 20 or 30-something men are not often aware of testicular cancer and often don’t view cancer as something that could happen to them. But, it can, and it does sometimes, which is why increased awareness of the disease is important.
What causes testicular cancer is not truly known, but doctors advise men that possible risk factors may include:
- Family history of testicular cancer
- An undescended testicle, called cryptorchidism
- Klinefelter's Syndrome, where an extra X chromosome results in failure of the testicles
- Being Caucasian
- Being a man between 15 to 35 years
Early Detection of Testicular Cancer Gives You the Best Chance of Survival
The good news is, when detected early, testicular cancer can be successfully treated and the cure rate is high. In fact, when detected early, it can be treated successfully in more than 95% of cases.
Unlike other common cancers that affect men, such as prostate cancer, there are no screening exams for testicular cancer. The best early detection exam is one you do yourself. Monthly self-exams of the testicles and scrotum are important for you to perform to find any suspicious lumps or masses. Early detection of testicular cancer can save your life!
Get Familiar with Your Own Body – How to Perform A Testicular Self-Exam
Men, don’t be shy; now’s the time to become familiar with your own bodies so that if you do feel any new lumps or bumps during a self-exam, you’ll know what to do next.
Pain and/or finding a small mass in the testes or scrotum are common symptoms of testicular cancer. However, sometimes these masses or lumps can be painless, which is why monthly self-exams and regular physical exams by your doctor are so important.
The best time to perform a testicular self-exam is during a shower when you are relaxed. A self-exam will only take a few minutes and can be done as follows:
- Using both hands, hold one testicle at a time between your thumbs and fingers.
- Gently roll the testicle between your fingers, feeling for any hard lumps or rounded bumps.
- Each time you perform the self-exam, make a mental note of any changes in size, shape or feel of your testicles.
It’s important to know that one testicle is usually slightly larger than the other. Testicles also contain blood vessels and tubes that carry sperm. These vessels can feel like abnormal lumps at first so talk to your doctor if you have any questions about performing a self-exam. Testicles can also become enlarged due to other conditions not associated with cancer, including hydroceles (build-up of excess fluid) or varicoceles (enlarged veins in the scrotum) or even injury.
Remember - testicular cancer is uncommon, but if you feel something that concerns you, see a urologist sooner rather than later.
For questions about testicular cancer as well as details about diagnosis and treatment, visit the testicular cancer page on Chesapeake Urology’s Men’s Health website or call (866) 953-3111 to make an appointment with one of Chesapeake Urology’s leading urologists.
You can also learn more about Chesapeake Urology’s urologic cancer program
and meet our urologic oncologists.