Men’s Health: How do you check for testicular cancer?
By Dr Philippa Kaye

November is Men’s Health Awareness Month so here at the Pleasure Positivity Project we are focusing on testicular cancer. No matter your gender it is so important that we are all aware of issues which affect our own or another gender so that we can help recognise symptoms and know when to ask for help.

How common is testicular cancer?

Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men aged 15-44 years old with about 2000 people being diagnosed with testicular cancer each year in the UK. It is rare before puberty but approximately half of testicular cancer cases occur in males under the age of 35, and yet the majority of people do not know how to, or don’t regularly check their genitals.

How to check for testicular cancer yourself

The UK men’s health charity Movember recommend that you examine your testicles about once a month to notice any changes. They advise a ‘steam, roll, repeat’ method:

Steam - a warm bath or shower will help everything relax and ensure that the testicle is low in the scrotum so you can check it!

Roll - roll the testis (ball) between your thumb and fingers, feel all around for any lumps, bumps, or painful or tender areas.

Repeat - on the other side!

You are unique and so too are your testicles! It is really important that you get to know what is normal for you, so that you are then able to notice if something changes. If, during your testicular cancer check, something feels different, or you have any concerns then please see your doctor. As with all cancers, time matters, and the earlier that the diagnosis can be made, the more likely it is that treatment will be successful, and you will make a full recovery. Your doctor may refer you for an ultrasound scan and to a specialist.

What is the treatment for testicular cancer?

Treatment of testicular cancer generally involves surgery to remove the testicle on that side. Removing one testicle doesn’t affect your testosterone levels, or impact on your ability to achieve or maintain an erection, reach orgasms, have an active sex life or affect your fertility. If the cancer has spread, then you may be advised to have chemotherapy or radiotherapy which may affect fertility. The good news though is that the five year survival rate for men with testicular cancer is 95%, so over 9 out of 10 people affected.

Check out movember more information and remember to check your testicles!