There a 6 new cases of testicular cancer every day in the UK.
In the UK around 2,400 men are diagnosed with testicular cancer each year. It is unusual compared with other cancers because it tends to affect younger men. Although it’s relatively uncommon overall, testicular cancer is the most common type of cancer to affect men between the ages of 15 and 49.
We’ve put together some information about the symptoms and risk factors because early detection is the best prevention.
Who is at higher risk?
Undescended Testicles – The most significant risk factor. Men with undescended testicles are about 3 times more likely to develop testicular cancer.
Family History – If your father had testicular cancer, you’re around 4 times more likely to develop it. If your brother had testicular cancer, you’re about 8 times more likely to develop it.
Previous Cancer – Men who have previously had testicular cancer are between 12 and 18 times more likely to develop it in the other testicle.
Ethnic Background – White men have a higher risk of testicular cancer than men from other ethnic groups.
HIV or AIDS – People with HIV or AIDS have an increased risk of testicular cancer but most cases of testicular cancer are not linked to being HIV positive.
What are the symptoms of testicular cancer?
- a painless swelling or lump in a testicle
- an increase in the firmness of a testicle
- a difference in appearance between 1 testicle and the other
- a dull ache or sharp pain in your testicles or scrotum
- a feeling of heaviness in your scrotum
How to check your testicles
A regular testicular self-examination means you get to know what feels normal for you. A normal testicle should feel smooth and firm, but not hard. It is suggested that when doing a self-examination, you should take a warm shower which will help your testicles to relax. Then, roll one testicle between your thumb and fingers, check for any changes or anything painful. Repeat on your other testicle. You should look and feel for any hard lumps or nodules (smooth rounded masses) or any change in the size, shape, or consistency of your testicles.
Remember, it is normal for the testicles to be slightly different in size. It is also normal for one to hang lower than the other.
As testicular cancer is rare, the risk of developing it is small even if you do have any risk factors but you should see your GP if you have any symptoms that do not go away or improve. Try not to be embarrassed. Doctors are used to discussing intimate problems and will put you at ease.