Unlike most cancers, testicular cancer doesn’t get more common as you get older. It’s primarily a young man’s disease and those aged between 15 and 35 are most at risk. Men should be checking their testicles around once a month but the truth is less than one in five actually do. Early diagnosis however, can be life saving.
If you’re a guy and you don’t check your testicles regularly or if you’re not sure you’re doing it properly then watch on I’m going to show you how to check yourself. (Victor if you could just remove your towel for me.)
Now a really good time to self-check is during or after a hot bath or shower when the muscles of the scrotal sack are relaxed and the testicles hang down lower but any time is better than not checking at all. So the first thing you should do is to rest your testicles in the palm of your hand a bit like a weighing scale. Compare one testicle with the other for equal heaviness. Now it’s quite normal that one testicle is larger or hangs down slightly lower than the other and you’re probably used to them looking and feeling slightly different, which is a good thing: it means you’re familiar with your own balls and more likely to notice any changes.
At the back of each testicle is a thickening. This is the epididymis, which is the narrow tightly coiled tube that carries the sperm to the penis. As you know it’s extremely tender so be gentle with yourself here. Is that OK?
Now place your fingers behind the scrotum and using your thumb gently roll the testicle between your thumb and fingers you’re feeling for any small hard lumps or a slight enlargement or firmness of the testicle. A normal testicle is oval shaped and feels firm, but not hard. And this one feels fine. Do you want to do the other one Victor?
So that’s it, just rolling the testicle between your fingers and thumb, good. Most testicular cancer is diagnosed because of a painless lump in the testicle, but there are other signs. Look out for a pain or discomfort in your scrotum or testicles, a heavy or dragging feeling in your scrotum, a dull ache in the lower stomach or groin area, a build up of fluid inside your scrotum, blood in your sperm at ejaculation or discharge from the penis. These are all signs that something maybe wrong.
Now there are lots of other things that can cause these symptoms beside testicular cancer but they should not be ignored.
If you do find a lump or notice any of the other symptoms, there’s two things you should do. One: make an appointment to see your doctor and two: stay calm. There’s a very good chance that it isn’t cancer as most abnormalities down there are a result of injury, infection or a non-cancerous swelling. Having said that, don’t get into the mindset of it’s probably nothing. On the small chance that it is something, then the sooner it’s investigated the better.
Testicular cancer has doubled in the last twenty years but it is one of the easiest cancers to treat successfully. Over 95% of cases are curable if treated early, but if ignored it can kill. That’s why checking your balls regularly is so important.
How To Check Your Testicles
Testicular cancer is a young man’s disease, and yet this is the age group that has the greatest sense of invincibility from the illness. Dr Harper demonstrates the technique you can use to self-examine your balls, and as it’s best carried out in the shower, it’s a great excuse for taking a bit longer in the morning.
Comments and Questions
You can share your experiences and thoughts with other Embarrassing Bodies site-users below. Comments & Questions are reviewed by moderators, but if you see anything on the site that worries you, please report it and one of our moderators will look at it as soon as possible.
Please note: Unfortunately Channel 4 cannot respond to individual inquiries. If you have any concerns, you can check out NHS Choices, but ultimately it is always best to check with a health professional.