We All Know Early Detection is Key – on Testicular Cancer
While research shows that the rate of men diagnosed with testicular cancer has doubled in the past 50 years, it’s not all bad news for sufferers. Testicular cancer is the one type of cancer that has a lot of good news attached to it: With early diagnosis and treatment, survivors have a 95% chance of recovery. They can go on to live full lives.
It’s a young man’s game – testicular cancer mostly affects young men between the ages of 15 and 39. Once you detect irregularities, be it from a self-exam or a doctor’s exam, getting the cancer treated will not affect the testicles’ primary functions. They will continue to produce and store semen as well as testosterone.
Who is at risk?
From adolescent to men in their late 30s, testicular cancer has the youth in its cross hairs. And as with many cancers, genetic pre-disposition plays a role: if the men in your family have had testicular cancer, it’s important to do checkups to ensure that you are safe. Men who were born with undescended testes are also at a higher risk of getting this particular cancer. Unfortunately, with cancer, there is always the risk of a reoccurrence down the line if you have been previously diagnosed. If you have been diagnosed with testicular cancer once before and treated for it, you have to keep a high vigilance and perform the self-exam regularly.
What to look for
Nobody knows your body better than you do. If something feels off or different, it probably is. When you do the self-exam, which experts recommend that men between the ages of 15 and 50 perform monthly, look for changes that veer too far from the usual state of things:
- Is there a change in your testicles’ shape?
- Are they heavier than normal?
- Do you feel any swellings?
- Do you feel a lump?
How to look for it
Experts recommend performing the self-exam after a nice, warm shower or bath as the boys are likely to be at their most relaxed and not self-conscious.
One at a time, roll each testicle between your thumb and fingers looking for the above symptoms.
Cup and weigh the scrotum in your hand.
Any change that is outside of the norm for you is worth phoning your doctor about to be sure.
Because testicular cancer mostly occurs in young men, it’s important to teach your sons about the important of checking and getting familiar with that part of their bodies as they go through puberty. With this sustained monthly self-exam, it will help them get to know what is normal for their body and be able to speak out should something one day seem out of place.