RATES of cancer of the testicles have doubled in the last 20 years. Nobody knows why. It's a disease that can affect all men, both young and old. If found early the cancer can be easily treated. So here are the essential facts:
WHO GETS IT?
TESTICULAR cancer is the most common form in men between 20 and 35 but it can occur in younger and older men too. Some types of cancer are genetic, so if a relative has suffered then be particularly cautious. The risk is also higher if you had an undescended testicle as a child.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
IT'S normal for one testicle to be slightly larger than the other but if either suddenly gets bigger, you should get it checked out.
There are lots of causes of lumps in the scrotum, most of which are nothing to worry about, but if you notice something new you should see your GP. Also seek help if you get a persistent dull ache in the groin.
WHAT WILL THE DOCTOR DO?
THE doctor will examine you and can often put your mind at rest immediately. You may also need an ultrasound scan and a blood test.
IF you have cancer then surgery to remove the affected testicle may be advised.
A prosthetic testicle can be put in to make you look normal and your fertility and sexual function shouldn't be affected. Chemotherapy or radiotherapy may be advised too.
HOW CAN I PREVENT CANCER?
WE don't know what causes testicular cancer so it's difficult to know how to avoid it. Early detection is essential and so men are advised to get to examine their scrotum once a month. After a shower, hold your testicles in the palm of your hands and use your fingers and thumbs, examine the shape, size, consistency and smoothness of the testes. Do this regularly then you'll know what's normal and will spot any changes. For more information go to Everyman - Funding research to cross out male cancer.