Signs & Symptoms of Testicular Cancer
KEY RISK FACTORS
Family history – if your brother or father had testicular cancer you are 4-8 times more likely to develop it
Previous testicular cancer – if you have previously been diagnosed with testicular cancer you are 12-18 times more likely to develop cancer in the remaining testicle (it’s important to attend follow-up appointments)
Undescended testicles (cryptorchidism) – the risk is greater in men where the condition isn’t corrected, or who haven’t had the surgery by age 11-13
How to check your balls
The best time to check your balls is during, or just after, a hot bath or shower. This is when the balls are relaxed, making it much easier to check!
Check one testicle at a time using both hands (after a hot bath or shower)
Firmly but gently roll your testicle between your thumb and fingers (don’t squeeze too hard!)
Get to know your Epididymis (your sperm cord – which can be rather tender)
Feel for the signs & symptoms of testicular cancer – or anything not normal for you (it’s normal for one to be bigger)
REPEAT ONCE A MONTH
Testicular cancer is 96% curable if detected early – meaning men surviving 5 years or more
Are diagnosed with testicular cancer every year in the UK – that’s more than 6 per day
On the rise
Incidence rates have increased by more than a quarter since the early 1990's
Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men aged 15-45 - with the highest rates in men ages 30-34
Myth #1: Testicular cancer only affects older menMost cancers primarily affect older patients, but this isn’t true for testicular cancer. The most common age of diagnosis is between 15-45, so it’s important to start checking yourself regularly from puberty.
Myth #2: Injuring your balls increases your riskWe certainly don’t recommend it – and suggest you actively avoid doing it – but there’s no evidence that trauma leads to testicular cancer. Neither do creams, riding a bike, keeping your phone in your pocket or masturbation. Phew.
Myth #3: Prostate checks can detect testicular cancerIt’s important to get your prostate checked, especially for men aged over 50 – but remember that this is only checking for issues with your prostate, not your testicles. It’s important you check your balls regularly at all ages.
Myth #4: You can’t have kids after cancerFor the majority of men, you can have normal fertility with one testicle and a patients sperm count usually returns to it’s baseline normal post- treatment. However, chemotherapy can increase your risk of infertility – so depending on your treatment, your medical team may discuss the option of banking sperm. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure.
Myth #5: Lumps always mean cancerAny changes in your balls or scrotum can be very worrying – this is why it’s important to act quickly and visit your doctor. The most common cause of lumps on the testicle are cysts – which will be easily diagnosed with an ultrasound and will usually go away with medication.
Myth #6: Doctors don’t want to check patients’ ballsDoctors are trained medical professionals who have dedicated their life to helping others – there is no reason to be embarrassed when visiting them about any part of your body – including your balls.