‘Prostate cancer tends to be age-related and there are no obvious early symptoms, which can make it tricky to diagnose,’ says ZoomDoc’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Kenny Livingstone.
‘However, testicular cancer, which generally affects younger men, does have an easy to spot warning sign — provided you check yourself regularly,’ he says.
Sadly so many men don’t, with one hospital-led survey revealing that despite knowing how to check their testicles, a third never have.
Movember wants to change all that. As part of its annual campaign to get men checking, talking and getting help with any physical and mental health concerns they may have, it’s asking how well men ‘know thy nuts?’, in the hope more men will check their testicles and act upon anything of concern.
Which begs the question, how well do you know your nuts? Keep reading to find out more about testicular cancer, including signs, symptoms and why checking yours really could save your life.
How common is testicular cancer?
Testicular cancer is one of the less common cancers with ‘just’ 2,300 men being diagnosed each year (source: NHS).
That’s compared to around 52,300 new prostate cancer cases in the UK every year, which is more than 140 every day, according to Cancer Research.)
‘Not only is it less common than others, it’s also one of the most treatable cancers,’ says Dr Kenny.
Which is why knowing what to look for is so important …
What are the signs and symptoms of testicular cancer
The NHS describes typical symptoms of testicular cancer as ‘a painless swelling or lump in one of the testicles, or any change in shape or texture of the testicles.’
‘If you do notice something of concern, see your GP,’ says Dr Kenny.
At your appointment your doctor will ask about symptoms, medical history (because testicular cancer is around 4 times more likely if it runs in your family) and will examine the lump.
Holding a light or torch to it can be an early detector. If light passes through it, it’s more likely to be a collection of fluid than a lump, so this can give some early peace of mind. However, this should only be done by your doctor and should still be checked out.
Your GP may then refer you for further tests (such as blood tests and ultrasound) to establish if the lump is cancerous – ‘most scrotum lumps are non-cancerous’, reassures NHS advice.
Need a second opinion?
If you’re struggling to get a doctor’s appointment or simply need a second opinion, don’t hesitate to speak to a ZoomDoc GP via our online appointment service.
Download the app and make an appointment that works for you from your own home.
If you require a GP referral letter to see a specialist, we can help with that, speeding up the process without even needing to see a GP.
Download our GP Referral Letter (£35) and you could have it today meaning you can get on with booking a specialist appointment and getting the diagnosis, tests and treatment you may require as soon as possible.
How often should you check your testicles?
According to information from Movember, ‘the best thing you can do for your nuts is to give them a feel every month or so – get to know what’s normal for you. That way, if anything changes you can act on it.‘
Not sure how to check properly? Watch this short video.
Testicular cancer charity It’s On The Ball offers a text reminder service so you get into the habit of checking at the start of each month. Text ‘BALLS@ to 66777 to sign up for the free service.
Treatment for testicular cancer
As mentioned above, testicular cancer is treatable with either chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery depending on the type of cancer and what stage it is at.
If you do need to have the cancer and therefore the testicle removed, this won’t affect your sex life or chances of becoming a parent.
Worried about prostate cancer? Read more about how ZoomDoc can help you monitor your PSA levels at home.