Testicular Cancer: Know the Facts!

Testicular Cancer: Know the Facts!

Testicular cancer, though the most common cancer in young men, is rare. Overall there are around 2,000 cases diagnosed each year in the UK. The highest at risk age group is between 18-32 years old. Between the age of 15 and 50 about 1 in 500 develop this problem all though there has been an 84% rise in incidence of testicular cancer in Britain since the late 1970s and this rate is still increasing. As testicular cancer can usually be successfully treated, mortality is very low.

In more than one third of cases of testicular cancer has already spread by the time of diagnosis. Despite this, today more than 95% of patients are cured, albeit many needing toxic drug treatment (chemotherapy). If caught at an early stage, the treatment is much simpler and may only require surgery to the diseased testicle and cure at this stage is more than 99%.

Surveys suggest that many men are unaware of testicular cancer or prefer to ignore it and only 5% of men regularly check their testicles. A simple regular self-examination is now known to help detect the early signs and reduce the amount of treatment needed.

Causes and prevention
Unlike many cancers, there are few known strong risk factors for testicular cancer and we cannot currently predict who is likely to get the disease. While most of these cancers occur in unsuspecting individuals, some risk factors can be traced in a minority of cases.
These include:

  • A testicle failing to get into the scrotum
  • A brother/ father with testicular cancer
  • A sedentary lifestyle increases the risk but regular exercise reduces risk
  •  Mumps or repeated trauma (rather than inevitable knocks) increases risk


The most common way these cancers are identified is by finding a lump in the testicle.


What to look out for:

  • Get to know your own body - From puberty onwards, it is important that you are aware of what is normal to you.
  • Look out for changes such as areas of hardening or swelling in the testis. It may be nothing, but get it checked out and see your GP. If you notice a change, do something.
  • It is absolutely normal for men to have one testicle which hangs lower than the other and be different in size but if you notice any changes, have it looked at by your GP.
  • Most men with discomfort in their testicles donít have cancer. The critical issue is looking for changes in consistency and areas of hardening and swelling, which are usually painless.


How to check yourself:

  1. Cradle the scrotum in the palm of both hands
  2. Use the thumb and fingers to gently squeeze the testicle
  3. Massage one at a time and spend the time feeling around.

See Testicular Self Examination Lealfet

What to do if youíre worried:

First of all, donít panic. Donít allow pride or embarrassment to affect booking an appointment with your GP, go and discuss it with your GP. Take your partner with you for support if youíre worried. Ladies, if you find something out of the ordinary, sit down with your partner and let him know youíre worried. Often it is the partner who spurs the other on to go to the doctors. The doctor will then have a look but wonít conduct any invasive procedures; theyíll just have a look and feel. If the doctor has any cause for concern, he might send you off further examination.


If itís cancer...
Treatment for testicular cancer should not normally affect your sex life or your fertility. However, as treatment can sometimes be more complicated than is first envisaged, if you havenít yet started a family but plan to it may be an idea to have a sperm check and store sperm until treatment is complete and recovery of sperm has been proven. Rebecca Porta, Chief Executive of Orchid, the male cancer charity says ďOur research shows that men still need a helping hand when it comes to checking themselves for lumps and bumps. Testicular cancer is most common in young men and it is so important they get to know their bodies. If you find something on you, or your partnerís body, donít be scared to get it checked out. Get your partner to help check too, you might even have fun doing so!Ē
 

This is article is kindly donated by Orchid - Fighting Male Cancer

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