The title might suggest that this article relates to a security firm engaged at Buckingham palace, however what we’re actually talking about is monitoring an aspect of our sexual health, specifically testicular cancer. Testicular cancer is a relatively rare cancer, however it seems to be becoming more prevalent and is the most common cancer in men aged between 20 and 35.
It’s ironic that blokes will quite often joke or boast about their tackle, but will find it very difficult to discuss the same appendage with their GP. Becoming comfortable and familiar with our penis and testicles is the first step in being able to notice any changes over time.
The first thing that some blokes notice (and get concerned about) is that one testicle may hang lower than the other. This is perfectly normal and is actually an evolutionary trait that prevents them bashing into each other like some runaway desk ornament when we walk or run.
Testicular cancer usually affects one testicle. There are some symptoms to keep an eye out for which shouldn’t be ignored:
- a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
- a lump in either testicle
- enlargement of a testicle
- dull aching in the abdomen or groin
- a sudden collection of fluid in the scrotum
- tenderness and/or enlargement of the breast tissue
A key point to remember is, initially, and in some cases even in the later stages, testicular cancer might not cause any pain or discomfort. A small painless lump is the most common symptom, and if you have any of these symptoms, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you definitely have cancer. These symptoms can also indicate a range of benign (non-cancerous) causes, but they should always be checked by a doctor.
Because some of these symptoms aren’t always glaringly obvious, it’s important to self-check your testicles. The best way to examine your testicles is after a warm bath or shower and it’s a fairly straight forward process:
- Cup your testicles in the palm of one hand. Pay attention to the size and weight. This helps you identify any future changes.
- Locate the epididymis. This is the tube that carries sperm to the penis. It can be felt at the top-rear of each testicle. This lump is meant to be there.
- Examining each testicle in more detail by rolling it between your thumb and fingers, press gently but firmly to feel for any lumps, swellings or variations in firmness.
Repeat this examination every couple of months or so. The outlook for treatment of testicular cancer is very good. With early diagnosis, 96% of patients can be completely cured. Even after the cancer has spread, up to 80% of men can still be cured.
If you do find anything unusual, don’t wait for it to disappear or start throbbing – see your doctor.
For more men’s health and wellbeing information check out our website, here you will also find our recently launched Working with Warriors podcast series. Alternatively get in touch with us via the details below for a chat about arranging one of our community educators to present a health and wellbeing session or run a Fast Track Pit Stop for your local community group or club free of charge.
Glen and the Team
The Regional Men’s Health Initiative
delivered by Wheatbelt Men’s Health (Inc.)
PO Box 768, Northam WA 6401
Phone: 08 9690 2277