How to check your balls for signs of testicular cancer – in 3 simple steps
Not very, is the answer. In fact, a terrifying 68 per cent of men don't know how to check themselves for signs of testicular cancer.
And according to The Movember Foundation, over a third have never checked themselves for the disease.
That's really worrying, given that testicular cancer is the most common cancer among young men aged 15-49 in the UK.
So to mark testicular cancer awareness month, the charity is calling on all blokes to "know thy nuts" by taking one minute every week or so, to check their balls for the red-flag warning signs of the disease.
And it's critically important to perform regular self-checks, as early diagnosis can prove life-saving.
Although most men survive the disease, one in 20 die of it – and usually, that's because they don't do anything about it in time.
Owen Sharp, CEO of the Movember Foundation said: “When it does strike, testicular cancer tends to do so early. Knowing what to look for and carrying out regular self-checks is crucial. Seeking medical advice if you notice anything different could save your life.”
So, how do you go about checking your nuts?
To be fair, while most men are well acquainted with their balls, they don't know where to start when it comes to checking them for cancer.
So here, we've compiled a helpful three-step guide, with the help of the experts over at The Movember Foundation.
Sam Gledhill, global director for testicular cancer at the charity, said: "With testicular cancer, it really is so important to understand what feels normal for you and to go see a doctor if something changes.
"An action as simple as knowing what feels normal and getting some medical advice if things change can, quite literally, save lives."
First things first then, it's important to work out what feels normal for you – all balls are different.
Step 1 – Get steamy
This might not be as exciting as it first seems, but stick with it.
A hot shower is the best place to get in the know, when it comes to your balls.
The warm temperatures will get your nuts in the mood for the next step.
Step 2 – Get handsy
Well, to be accurate, get your fingers on your balls.
The best way to have a good feel about is to gently roll your testicle between your thumb and fingers.
You'll get a sense of how they feel, their size and shape.
By repeating this every week or so, you'll get a good picture of what's normal means for your nuts.
Step 3 – Go again
Easiest step so far, repeat part two just on your second, as yet un-touched testicle.
So, now you know HOW to check your balls, WHAT are you looking for?
No self-health check is worth it, unless you know what it is you actually need to look for.
Sam said: "Most of the time, testicular cancer presents as a lump or pain in the testicle, an increase in size or change in the way a testicle feels."
His colleague Anne-Cécile Berthier, country director at the Foundation, added: "The majority of men who self check will have nothing to worry about.
"But we want men to know their nuts because those who check their testicles often and go to a doctor when something doesn't feel right are usually left in good standing.
"We want men to take action for their health to live happier, healthier and longer lives."
The red-flag warning signs that mean you could have testicular cancer include:
- a lump or swelling in the testicle
- a heavy scrotum
- a sharp pain in the testicle or scrotum
- changes in shape or texture
BE IN THE KNOW To find out more about all of these signs and symptoms see our full guide here
Other symptoms include:
- if the cancer spreads to the lymph glands you may develop backache, a dull lower tummy ache, lumps in the collar bone or neck
- if it's spread to your lungs – a cough, difficulty breathing
- tender or swollen breast tissue
- if it's spread to the lymph glands in your chest – difficulty swallowing or a swelling in your chest
If you do notice any of these changes, the message from the experts at the Movember Foundation is not to panic.
But do book an appointment with your GP to get it checked out.
Every year around 2,200 Brit blokes are diagnosed with testicular cancer.
For those men, the charity is launching TrueNTH Testicular Cancer, an online resource that offers information tailored to a man's needs at each stage of the disease, and helps connect them with others in the same boat.
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