This April is Testicular Cancer Awareness Month, and we would like to encourage all men to be able to identify the signs of the disease so that they feel confident to seek professional help if they need it.
Testicular cancer isn’t particularly common. In fact, it only affects around 2,400 men in the UK every single year. A common misconception about cancer is that it predominantly affects the older generation, but with testicular cancer, this isn’t the case. Younger men, particularly between the ages of 15 and 50, are more likely to be diagnosed with the disease and so should be aware of the signs and symptoms associated with testicular cancer.
What are the symptoms of testicular cancer?
There are a variety of symptoms associated with testicular cancer. However, many of these can be similar to other conditions that can also affect the testicles, such as infections. If you notice any of the following symptoms, you should arrange an appointment with your doctor to discuss them:
- • A lump or swelling in the testicle
- • Your scrotum feels heavy
- • Sharp pain or discomfort in the scrotum
- • An increase in the firmness or feel of your testicles
- • An obvious difference between your testicles
Less common symptoms that are sometimes linked to testicular cancer that has had chance to metastasize (spread to other parts of the body) include:
- • Feeling breathless
- • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
- • A persistent cough
Doctors recommend that all men check their testicles on a regular basis so that any changes are detected quickly. The testicular charity, Baggy Trousers UK, has a great guide to checking your testicles on their website.
Early diagnosis of testicular cancer
The survival rate of testicular cancer is very high compared to many others, with 91% of men going on to live for 10 years or more following their diagnosis. Nevertheless, as with any other type of cancer, the earlier testicular cancer is diagnosed, the sooner treatment can begin and the better your outcome from treatment is likely to be.
Someone who knows this all too well is Olympic Gold Medallist Nathan Adrian, who’s own testicular cancer journey has been reported in the media this week. In December 2018, Nathan noticed unusual swelling and hardness affecting his left testicle. When there was no improvement in his condition a week later, he sought advice from his doctor. Shortly after, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer and had surgery to remove his left testicle. This was followed a month later by surgery to remove some lymph nodes. He is now in remission, and regular testing has shown no sign of the cancer returning.
Since his diagnosis, Nathan has used his Olympic profile to raise awareness of the condition and help break the stigma associated with testicular cancer. He believes that the best way to do this is to talk about the disease.
If you have concerns about testicular cancer, we recommend that you speak to your doctor as soon as possible. In addition to Baggy Trousers UK website, there are several other charities that provide information on testicular cancer, including Ballboys and Orchid, which focuses on all male cancers, including testicular, prostate and penile.
At RMDM, we believe that the best way to fight cancer is to find new technologies to detect it at the earliest stages, when it is most treatable. To learn more about our early detection cancer blood test, please check out PanTum Detect on our website.