Testicular cancer is a significant health concern for young men, particularly those aged 15 to 35 years (1). Early detection and treatment are crucial in increasing the chances of a full recovery. During this ‘Testicular Cancer Awareness Month’, it is important to remember some key points:
Understand the risk factors (2,3):
Although testicular cancer can affect men of any age, it is most common in young and middle-aged men. Factors that may increase the risk of developing testicular cancer include:
- A family history of testicular cancer
- An undescended testicle (cryptorchidism)
- Abnormal testicle development
- Previous testicular cancer
- Abnormality of the penis and urethra (hypospadias)
- Ethnic background: white men are more likely to develop this type of cancer than men of other races)
- Cannabis exposure (4)
Learn the symptoms:
The early signs of testicular cancer can be subtle and easily overlooked. It’s essential to be aware of potential symptoms, which may include:
- A painless lump or swelling in either testicle
- A change in the size or shape of a testicle
- A feeling of heaviness or sudden collection of fluid in the scrotum
- A dull ache in the lower abdomen, groin, or back
- Unexplained fatigue or general malaise
Perform regular self-examinations (5):
Regular self-examinations are crucial for early detection of testicular cancer. By examining the testicles on a monthly basis, men can become familiar with their normal size, shape, and texture, making it easier to notice any changes. To perform a self-exam:
- Stand in front of a mirror and look for any swelling on the skin of the scrotum
- Hold each testicle between the thumbs and fingers and gently roll it, feeling for any lumps or unusual bumps
Seek prompt medical attention:
If any changes are noticed in their testicle, men should consult their healthcare provider as soon as possible. Early detection significantly increases the chances of successful treatment and a complete recovery.
Encourage open conversations:
Discuss the importance of testicular cancer awareness with friends and family. Encouraging open conversations about men’s health can help reduce the stigma surrounding the topic and promote a proactive approach to detecting and treating testicular cancer.
Educate oneself about testicular cancer by staying informed about the latest research, treatment options, and support resources. Reliable sources of information include reputable health organizations, such as the American Cancer Society and the Testicular Cancer Society.
In conclusion, testicular cancer is a potentially life-threatening condition that primarily affects young men. By understanding the risk factors, learning the symptoms, performing regular self-examinations, seeking prompt medical attention, and encouraging open conversations, we can raise awareness about this disease and improve the chances of early detection and successful treatment. Remember, knowledge is power – take charge of your health and help spread the word about the importance of testicular cancer awareness.
1) Park J S, Kim J et al. Recent global trends in testicular cancer incidence and mortality. Medicine. 2018 Sep;97(37):e12390.
2) Cheng L, Albers P et al. Testicular cancer. Nat Rev Dis Primers. 2018 Oct 5;4(1):29
3) Stang, Trabert et al. A survey of etiologic hypotheses among testicular cancer researchers. Andrology. 2015 Jan;3(1):19-26.
4) Gurney J, Shaw C et al. Cannabis exposure and risk of testicular cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Cancer. 2015;15:897.
5) Roy R K, Casson K. Attitudes toward testicular cancer and self-examination among Northern Irish males. Am J Mens Health. 2017 Mar;11(2):253-261