The Testicular Cancer Society recognizes April as Testicular Cancer Awareness Month. As men, we don’t often give much thought to our well being. Okay, full disclosure we’ve been pretty bad at it – but we are getting a lot better!
Well no more participation awards just for showing up, it’s time we take our health (quite literally) into our own hands – and check out our boys!
A look at the Numbers
- Testicular cancer is not common; about 1 of every 263 males will develop testicular cancer at some point during their lifetime.
- This is largely a disease of young and middle-aged men, but about 7% of cases occur in children and teens, and about 7% occur in men over the age of 55.
- About half of all cases of testicular cancer are in men between the ages of 20 and 34.
- Because testicular cancer usually can be treated successfully, a man’s lifetime risk of dying from this cancer is very low: about 1 in 5,000.
Signs and Symptoms of Testicular Cancer
All men should know what is normal for their testicles. Your hands are down there anyway as you do your best Al Bundy impression on the couch – why not venture a bit deeper and give some thought to what they feel like. Many men discover testicular cancer by noticing changes in their testicles.
Here are a few of the warning signs.
- The most common symptom of testicular cancer is a painless lump on or in a testicle.
- Sometimes the testicle may become swollen or larger, without a lump.
- Some testicular tumors might cause pain, but most of the time they don’t.
- Men with testicular cancer may also have a heavy or aching feeling in the lower belly or scrotum.
How to give yourself an exam
The best time to feel the testicles is just after a warm bath or shower, preferably with some candles and Barry White. The heat from the water makes the testicles descend and the scrotum relax, which makes it easier to feel if anything is abnormal. Testicular cancer may not cause any signs or symptoms in its early stages because the tumor is very small and symptoms typically appear once the tumor grows into surrounding tissues and structures.
If you find a change, don’t put it on your to-do list for later in the week – report it to a doctor as soon as possible! The doctor may order tests to find out what the change could mean.
For further information, visit the Canadian Cancer Society.