The most common sign of testicular cancer is a lump in the testicle. It can occur in any age group but is most common in those aged 25-40. Given it affects men in the prime of their life it can by quite a shocking diagnosis to receive.
Testicular cancer is also common for young men who often are busy enjoying life and feel fit and healthy. They can be less focused on noticing if they have potential lumps.
As early diagnosis leads to the best outcomes for patients it is extremely important that all young men are aware of testicular cancer and are performing regular self-checks of their testicles. It is also important that if a change is detected on self-examination that you consult with a doctor to discuss this finding.
The doctor will need to do an examination which will guide the next steps. They may then provide a referral for further testing which might include an ultrasound of your testicles and possible some blood tests.
Our doctors are very aware that it can be quite embarrassing to go to the doctor to discuss these things and have an examination of your genitals. We will do all we can to make you feel at ease throughout this process. Often one of the best things you can do as a patient is let your doctor know that you are feeling anxious and what exactly you are worried about. For example, some are worried about what the doctor might find, others might just be embarrassed about speaking about their genitals or being examined.
Testicular Cancer Self Examination
Whilst there is no currently recommended screening test for testicular cancer, self-examination of your testicles is strongly recommended. Often this can be performed in the shower or in another warm environment to allow the area to be relaxed. Handle your testicles gently as over handling or being too aggressive will of course be uncomfortable which might make you worried something is abnormal!
There are some structures in the area including the ‘epididymis’ and the ‘spermatic cord’ which might be confused for lumps at times. If you are uncertain what you are feeling then consider attending your doctor for confirmation.
Testicular Cancer Treatment
Treatment of testicular cancer usually requires the removal of the affected testicle with a surgical operation called an ‘orchidectomy’. In some cases, further treatment such as chemotherapy may be required but this is dependent on the stage of cancer. Your GP would refer you to a specialist in managing testicular cancer as soon as the diagnosis is confirmed or suspected.