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Men's Health > Penis Health > Testicular Cancer Check

Testicular cancer is cancer that develops in the testes and annually there are about 8,000 reported diagnoses of testicular cancer in the USA.  It is the most common form of cancer in men 15 to 40 years old and accounts for 1% of all cancers in men.

The exact cause of testicular cancer is unknown and several factors are thought to increase risk. These include a medical history of undescended testicle(s), abnormal testicular development, a sex chromosome disorder characterized by low levels of testosterone, sterility, development of breasts, and small testes.

Other factors may include exposure to chemicals and infection with sexually transmitted diseases including HIV. A family history of testicular cancer may increase risk however there is no link between vasectomy and elevated risk of testicular cancer.

White American men have about five times the risk of testicular cancer  than African-American men and more than twice the risk of Asian-American men. The risk for testicular cancer has doubled among white Americans in the past 40 years but has remained the same for African-Americans. The reasons for these differences are not known.

Prevention
As the causes of testicular cancer are unclear, maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle, not wearing pants that are to restrictive that they overheat and crush the testes and practicing safe sex are sensible precautions.

Self Examination
Men can increase their chances of detecting testicular cancer and any testicular abnormalities by performing regular testicular self-examinations (TSE).

Ideally, TSE should be performed during or after a warm bath or shower as the heat causes skin of the scrotum to relax making it easier to feel anything unusual on the testicle.

Examine each testicle gently with both hands. The index and middle fingers should be placed underneath the testicle with the thumbs placed on top. Roll the testicle gently between the thumbs and fingers. One testicle may be slightly larger than the other. This is normal.

Things to feel for
- Enlargement of a testicle or a change in the way it feels
- Lump or swelling in either testicle
- Dull ache in the back or lower abdomen
- Gynecomastia (excessive development of male breast tissue), this can also occur normally in adolescent males, in whom it is not a symptom of testicular cancer
- Testicular discomfort/pain or a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
- Occasionally, the initial symptoms are related to the spread of the cancer to other parts of the body, such as the lungs, abdomen, pelvis, or brain

Note - the epididymis is a cord-like structure on the top and back of the testicles that stores and transports sperm. Do not confuse the epididymis with an abnormal lump.

If you do find a lump or anything different, contact your doctor right away as a doctor can provide a diagnosis and decide the proper treatment.

Remember that testicular cancer is highly curable, especially when detected and treated early and it's important not to let fear or embarrassment keep you from not checking yourself on a regular basis, or contacting the doctor if you notice anything unusual. Remember, if caught early chances of survival are great. It's your life your dealing with, don't let embarrassment or shyness stop you checking. Make sure that you make regular checks.

 

 



 
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