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Health Wise: Testicular cancer awareness (and how to check your balls)

April is testicular cancer awareness month, so we thought we’d throw a slight curve ball with our latest blog and take a serious look at testicular cancer, but with a healthy dose of humour.

Here’s our ballsy guide to testicular cancer awareness and what men need to know about their nuts.

Let’s get the ball rolling – the facts about testicular cancer

While testicular cancer accounts for only one percent of cancers in men, it’s the most common cancer diagnosed in men aged between 15 and 49.

The exact cause or causes of testicular cancer are unknown. Some factors that have been identified as increasing the risk of developing it include:

  • undescended testicles
  • a family history of testicular cancer
  • previously being diagnosed with testicular cancer

Around 2,300 men are diagnosed with testicular cancer each year in the UK. So, it’s important to recognise the signs and symptoms of this serious illness.

And to do that, you’ll need to check your balls regularly.

Stay on the ball – the signs and symptoms of testicular cancer

The most common symptom associated with testicular cancer is swelling or discomfort in the scrotum, which is the sack that contains the testicles.

However, other symptoms that you should look out for include:

  • a painless lump or swelling in either testicle
  • a change in how the testicle feels
  • a dull ache in the lower abdomen or groin
  • a sudden build-up of fluid in the scrotum
  • pain or discomfort in a testicle or the scrotum

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should contact your GP for advice.

Spot the ball – your guide to self-examination for testicular cancer

To be able to recognise these changes in your body, you’ll need to check your testicles regularly. Preferably every month

This will give you an idea of what they normally feel like and make it easier to spot any changes.

The best time to check your testicles is while you’re in the shower or bath or just afterwards

A simple guide to checking your balls

  • Stand in front of a mirror. See if there are any unusual lumps or swellings on the skin.
  • Feel the size and weight of each testicle. If one is larger or hangs lower than the other, don’t worry, that’s perfectly normal.
  • Roll your testicles between your fingers and thumb. They should feel smooth, without any lumps or swellings.
  • Compare your testicles and get to know the differences between them so that you can spot any changes.
  • At the top of each testicle is a soft tube called the epididymis which stores sperm. It’s good to remember where this is so that you don’t mistake it for a lump.

If you have any concerns about a lump that you find, contact your GP for advice.

The ball’s in your court - help and support for testicular cancer

Testicular cancer is one of the most treatable types of cancer, and the outlook is one of the best.

In England and Wales, 99% of men survive for a year or more after being diagnosed with testicular cancer, and 98% survive for 5 years or more after diagnosis.

You can find more information about the survival rates for testicular cancer on Cancer Research UK.

Support is also available from these organisations.

Orchid hosts a forum for people affected by men's cancers.

Macmillan Cancer Support gives practical, medical and financial support to people with cancer in the UK.

Teenage Cancer Trust provides support and information for 13-to-24-year olds diagnosed with cancer, and their friends and families.

At Fusion, our occupational health services can help to support the health and wellbeing of all staff, male or female.

If you want to find out more, drop us a ball… sorry, drop us a call and get in touch today.

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Categories: Health & WellbeingHealth WiseOccupational Health

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