About Testicular Cancer
Medical science and treatments of cancer change in the blink of an eye. We've included some information below and tried to put it in the type of language we'd want to read. We are not doctors ourselves, but have done lots of research on TC, trying to put together the stuff, which is most important to you. It'll be updated, developed and improved regularly, so please let us know if you're looking for some particular info and can't find it and we'll add it in.
Early Detection is Key!
Over 95% of cases of testicular cancer are curable if treated early, which is why regular self-examination is so crucial. Checking your testicles (balls) on a regular basis is the best way to find any lumps, swellings, or other abnormalities that could be a sign of any underlying problem.
You should try to make checking your balls a weekly thing, checking often so that you know what is normal for you. This will make it easier to spot anything unusual.
What is normal?
A normal testicle is oval shaped and should be smooth and firm, but not hard. One testicle may be slightly larger than the other, or hang slightly lower and this is perfectly normal.
While checking you may feel small lumps or a tube at the back of each testicle - this is the coiled up sperm tube, called the epididymis, and this is also perfectly normal.
Checking your Testicles
The best time to check your testicles is during, or after, a warm bath, or shower.
Hold your scrotum (the sac containing your testicles) in the palm of your hand and use your fingers and thumb to feel the size and weight of each one. Roll each of your testicles gently, feeling for any hard lumps and noting any differences between them.
What to do if you find anything unusual
When checking your testicles, you are looking for any unusual lumps, or swellings, that were not there before.
If you notice any of the below symptoms then you should see your GP as soon as possible;
- a lump or enlargement of the testicle
- a testicle feeling firmer than before
- any pain or discomfort
- a collection of fluid inside your scrotum
- feeling of heaviness or a dull ache in your testicles, abdomen (stomach), groin
There are other symptoms associated with Testicular Cancer which may not include a lump in your balls. We've listed them below as it's always handy to watch out for these too - not just for Testicular Cancer but for your health in general;
- Decrease in libido
- Lower back pain
- Increase in tiredness
- Swelling or tenderness of the breast area
Remember, you can ask for a male or female doctor, whichever you feel more comfortable with, and you can go alone or with someone else (whichever you prefer.)
If you do have any of these symptoms it is important not to panic. It does not necessarily mean that you have cancer; most testicular abnormalities are a result of injury, infection, inflammation, or non-cancerous (benign) swelling.
What will happen at the GP appointment?
The GP will perform the same examination that you have. If they find anything unusual they will send you for an ultrasound scan so they can identify what's going on.
REMEMBER: YOU KNOW YOUR BALLS BEST!
If you are still very concerned, then ask for an ultrasound scan to put your mind at rest. If your symptoms do not go away then make a follow up appointment sooner rather than later.
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