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Movember: Testicular cancer

Testicular cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in young men in the UK. However, it has one of the best recovery rates of all cancers with 95% of those diagnosed making a full recovery, particularly if it’s diagnosed early – but for some men, long-term treatment-related side effects mean quality of life can be severely compromised.

The best thing you can do? Give your testicles a bit of a feel each month or so, and if something doesn’t seem right, head to the doctor.

Who is at risk?

Almost 35,000 men are estimated to be living with or beyond a testicular cancer diagnosis in the UK. Although it can occur at any age, testicular cancer often strikes young with men between the age of 20 and 40 being most affected.

For reasons that are unclear, white men have a higher risk of developing testicular cancer than men from other ethnic groups.

Men with undescended testes at birth, or who have a family history of testicular cancer, are at an increased risk.

Men who have previously been diagnosed with testicular cancer are between 12 and 18 times more likely to develop it in the other testicle.

What are the symptoms of testicular cancer?

Most commonly, the first symptom of testicular cancer is a painless lump or swelling in the testicle. The swelling or lump can be about the size of a pea but may be larger.

Other symptoms can include:

  • An increase in the firmness of a testicle
  • A difference in appearance between one testicle and the other
  • A dull ache or sharp pain in your testicles or scrotum, which may come and go
  • A feeling of heaviness in your scrotum
  • Aches and discomfort in your testicles, scrotum, groin or lower abdomen
  • Feeling tired and unwell

If you notice a swelling, lump or any other change in one of your testicles you should arrange to see your GP. They will examine you and if they think the lump is in your testicle (rather than your scrotum), they may consider cancer as a possible cause. If you do have testicular cancer, the sooner the treatment begins, the greater the likelihood that you’ll be completely cured.

If you do not feed comfortable visiting a GP, you can go to your local sexual health clinic, where a healthcare professional will be able to examine you.

Reducing your risk

Unlike other diseases, many men with testicular cancer have no known risk factors and the known risk factors such as undescended testicles, white race and a family history of the disease, can’t be changed. For these reasons, it’s not possible to prevent most cases of testicular cancer at this time.

For further information and support with testicular cancer, please visit testicularcanceruk.com

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