Testicular Cancer: Considered a Young Man’s Disease, Early Detection is Critical
Testicular cancer is considered a young man’s disease and is the most common cancer seen in adolescents and young men between the ages of 15 and 35 years.
- More than 8,000 men are diagnosed with testicular cancer each year in the United States.
- The average age of diagnosis is 33.
- For men with cancer that has not spread beyond the testicles, the five-year survival rate is 99%. [source]
Testicular cancer can be tricky. Most young men are not aware of testicular cancer or the changes that can occur in their bodies when the disease is present. Young teens and 20-something males don’t often think of cancer as a disease that will happen to them. But, it can, and it does sometimes, which is why increased awareness is important.
Why Early Detection is Critical
Early detection of testicular cancer is the best chance a man has for beating the disease.
Pain and/or finding a small mass in the testes or scrotum are common symptoms of testicular cancer. Sometimes these masses or lumps can be painless, which is why monthly self-exams and regular physical exams by a doctor are so important. Similar to guidelines for self-breast exams for women, the best early detection exam is one any man can do himself.
When detected early, testicular cancer can be successfully treated and the cure rate is high. In fact, the disease can be treated successfully in more than 95% of cases.
How to Perform a Testicular Self-Exam
A testicular self-exam only takes a few minutes and can be performed easily during a daily shower.
- Using both hands, hold one testicle at a time between your thumbs and fingers.
- Gently roll the testicle between your fingers, feeling for any hard lumps or rounded bumps.
- Each time you perform the self-exam, make a mental note of any changes in size, shape or feel of your testicles.
It’s important to know that one testicle is usually slightly larger than the other. Testicles also contain blood vessels and tubes that carry sperm. These vessels can feel like abnormal lumps at first so talk to your doctor if you have any questions about performing a self-exam. Testicles can also become enlarged due to other conditions not associated with cancer, including hydroceles (build-up of excess fluid) or varicoceles (enlarged veins in the scrotum) or even injury.