5 Things You May Not Know About Testicular Cancer

Published on:
3rd April 2024
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Check your nuts

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April is testicular cancer awareness month. Throughout the next 30 days, charities like Baggy Trousers UK will be doing more than ever to raise awareness and funds to help support those experiencing testicular cancer. Sadly, over 2400 people in the UK are diagnosed with testicular cancer every year. If detected early though, the chances of a full recovery are extremely high.

This is why raising awareness and reducing any embarrassment around the subject is vital, not only throughout April, but all year round too. To help improve understanding and encourage more people to check their balls, we’ve come up with 5 things you may not have heard about testicular cancer.

1. It is 95% curable if detected early

The lifetime risk of dying from testicular cancer is around 1 in 5000, if detected early. Okay, so it might be a bit much to start right off the bat with death, but this is perhaps the most important fact of them all. The earlier you detect it, the easier your recovery will be. It is as simple as that. Treatment is so effective that the chances of a full recovery are excellent – but again – only if you check your balls often enough to find it.

Therefore, fellas, fondling your balls on a regular basis is extremely important. And let’s be honest, a lot of fun too, so why not?

  1. Sit back and relax after a warm shower (steady now, don’t get too excited) as your skin will be at its most relaxed.
  2. Take your time, and check one at a time.
  3. Take one testicle between your first two fingers and your thumb and roll them around with gentle pressure.
  4. Check for any lumps or changes in shape, size, colour or consistency.
  5. Do the same for your epididymis (your spermatic chord / the tube-like thing at the back of the testicle).

It’s normal for the epididymis to feel tender under gentle pressure. Also, don’t panic if you do notice a lump or anything concerning, most of the time it is not cancer. However, it is important that you visit your doctor as soon as you can to have it checked out.

More information on how to check your nuts.

2. One of the most common cancers for young men

Overall, testicular cancer is relatively rare, making up just 1% of all cancers in men. However, it is the most common type to occur in men between the ages of 15 and 49. Although men past their 50s can and are still affected by testicular cancer, the chances of you getting it are a lot higher in your twenties and thirties.

3. Exact causes are still unknown

Despite research, the exact causes of testicular cancer are still largely unknown. For example, we know that smoking severely increasing chances of lung cancer, but there is no equivalent for testicular cancer. However, based on statistics from previous patients, there are a number of factors that can increase your risk of developing it.

Rather curiously, Caucasian men have a higher risk of getting testicular cancer than men from other ethnic groups, and so do taller men. Twins also have an increased risk of testicular cancer, especially if they are identical. Other factors include a family history of testicular cancer, or if you are born with an undescended testicle.

4. Testicles are removed through the abdomen

If you do find a lump that is concerning, your GP may advise you to have an ultrasound scan and some blood tests. You may also see a urologist, which is a specialist that diagnoses and treats disorders of the bladder, kidneys, prostate, ureters and male reproductive organs.

If they determine from your scans and blood test results that your testicle may have a cancerous tumour, it will need to be removed to be tested. The operation is called an orchidectomy.

What a lot of people don’t know is that in most cases this is done via the lower abdomen. Your scrotum (ballbag) is left untouched. The operation will result in a scar on one side of your lower abdomen, much similar to those who have had their appendix out.

5. You can have a ball job!

Breast augmentations (boob jobs) have been around since the 60s, but did you know you can have a ball job too? Before an orchidectomy, a testicular cancer patient is offered the choice of having a prosthetic replacement. The vast majority of young men will take the prosthetic option, but older men are more likely to turn it down and live with one testicle.

These are made of silicone, much similar to the material used in any other augmentation procedure, and come in a range of different sizes. They feel slightly firmer to the touch, but visually from the outside no different at all. Just don’t expect to be on page 3 with them anytime soon.