Too often, we tend to associate cancer with older generations. But almost half (47%) of men diagnosed with testicular cancer are under the age of 35, meaning it’s vital people of all ages know the symptoms.
Around 2,400 men will be diagnosed with testicular cancer in the UK each year, according to the male cancer charity Orchid. It most commonly affects those between the ages of 15-45, and is statistically the most likely cancer in men aged between 25-49 in the UK.
As with all cancers, the sooner you spot the signs, the sooner you can receive a diagnosis and access treatment. So, do you know what to look out for?
Symptoms Of Testicular Cancer
The most common symptom of testicular cancer is a swelling or lump in one of the testes. Other signs can include:
A dull ache or sharp pain in your testicles or scrotum, which may come and go
A feeling of heaviness in your scrotum
A dull ache in your lower abdomen (stomach area)
A sudden collection of fluid in your scrotum (hydrocele)
A general feeling of being unwell
Enlarged lymph nodes in the back, which have enlarged due to spread of cancer.
How To Check For Signs Of Testicular Cancer
Check each testicle separately using one or both hands. Orchid advises rolling each testicle between the thumb and forefinger to check that the surface is free of lumps or bumps.
“Get to know your balls; their size, texture, anatomy, magnificence,” the charity advises. “Identify the epididymis (sperm collecting tube), often mistaken for an abnormal lump that runs behind each testicle.”
It’s recommended that men complete this self-examination at least monthly. If you notice something that doesn’t feel right, visit your GP. This is nothing to feel embarrassed about.
How Is Testicular Cancer Diagnosed?
If you think you’ve spotted signs of testicular cancer, your first port of call should be your GP. They will complete a physical examination of your testes. They may hold a small torch against your skin, as testicular lumps tend to be solid, meaning light can’t pass through them.
If your GP has any concerns, you’ll be referred to a hospital for further tests. These may include blood tests and an ultrasound.
How Is Testicular Cancer Treated?
Testicular cancer has a very high survival rate and 98% of men will be alive for at least five years after treatment, according to Cancer Research UK.
The main types of treatment include surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy – the type of treatment you have will be determined by the position of your cancer and how far it has developed.