It’s the less common, lesser-known little brother of prostate cancer, accounting for only one per cent of cancers experienced by men. But testicular cancer is still worth keeping an eye out for. Here’s what you need to know:
- Testicular cancer is comparatively rare. Only one man in 250 will experience testicular cancer in their lifetime.
- Despite this, it’s the most common cancer in young men aged between 15 and 35.
- It is usually confined to only one testicle, but sometimes both can be affected.
- It’s very treatable, with a five-year testicular cancer survival rate of more than 95 per cent. Only one man in 5000 will die of testicular cancer.
- As with other cancers, you have a better chance of successful testicular cancer treatment if it's caught early – so doctors recommend monthly self-examination to check for danger signs.
- The most common symptom of testicular cancer is a painless lump in the testicle.
- Other symptoms can include swelling, shrinking or change in firmness of a testicle, or pain, discomfort or heaviness in the testicle, scrotum, groin or abdomen.
- It’s important to see a doctor if you experience any of these symptoms. They could be caused by something else, but it’s best to check!
- We don't know what causes testicular cancer, but you may be at higher risk if you have a family history of testicular cancer, abnormal testicular development or an undescended testicle.
- There’s no evidence to suggest that it’s caused by injury to the testicles, hot baths, wearing tight clothing or sporting strains.
TOP TOPS FOR EXAMINING YOUR TESTICLES
Here’s how to check for testicular cancer:
1. Check your testicles for testicular cancer once a month.
2. It’s a good idea to self-examine in the bath or shower, when your scrotum is relaxed.
3. Gently hold your scrotum and roll each testicle between your fingers and thumbs.
4. Look and feel for changes in shape, color or softness, and especially any lumps or swelling. The most common symptom of testicular cancer is a painless lump in the testicle. Other symptoms can include swelling, shrinking or change in firmness of a testicle, or pain, discomfort or heaviness in the testicle, scrotum, groin or abdomen.
5. It’s normal to have one testicle bigger than the other, and for one to be hung lower than the other. It’s also normal to feel a wobbly tube at the back of your testicles – this transports sperm from the testes to the penis.
6. Get to know what feels and looks normal for you, so you can recognize any changes.
7. See your doctor if you discover a lump or anything unusual or worrying.
Sources: National Foundation for Cancer Research, Testicular Cancer NZ, cancer.org