What is Everyman Male Cancer Awareness Month?
- A survey conducted by Everyman in 2006 revealed that only 28% of men check their testicles regularly for signs of testicular cancer.
- The Everyman Campaign raises awareness of prostate and testicular cancer with both men and women.
- The majority of men with prostate cancer are aged over 60 years and the disease is very rare in men under 50.
- Testicular cancer mainly affects younger men and is the most common form of cancer in men aged between 15 and 44. It is still quite rare, with nearly 2,000 new cases a year in the UK. The incidence of testicular cancer has more than doubled since 1975, but the reasons for this are not yet known. Testicular cancer is 99% curable if caught early and with treatment the overall cure rate is over 95%. Testicular cancer causes around 70 deaths every year in the UK.
What is Testicular Cancer?
- Testicular cancer develops from within the cells in the testes. It usually presents itself as a lump in the testicle.
- Regular self-examination can help to detect this cancer at an early stage.
- If the cancer is not treated at an early stage, cancer cells can break away and spread to nearby lymph nodes or other organs.
- If a lump or change in the testicles is identified, a GP will arrange for a test to check if the lump is harmless or a possible tumour.
Most lumps are not cancerous but it is important to get yourself checked out by your GP to be sure.
- Age – testicular cancer is found more frequently in the young and middle-aged than in elderly men. It is most common in men aged 15-44.
- Undescended testis at birth – may increase the risk of testicular cancer by five to ten times.
- Family history -having a father, brother or son who has had testicular cancer greatly increases the risk of getting the disease.
- Previous testicular cancer -having had testicular cancer before increases the risk of developing cancer in the other testicle. However, cancer in both testicles is extremely rare.
- Race and ethnicity- testicular cancer is most common in Caucasians.
Signs & Symptoms
Regular self- examination will help you become more aware of the normal feel and size of your testicles so that any abnormalities can be spotted early on: a lump in either testicle; any enlargement of the testicle; a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum; a dull ache in the abdomen or groin; a sudden collection of fluid in the scrotum; growth or tenderness of the upper chest. If you do have any of these symptoms, don’t just wait and hope that they disappear – go and get checked out by your doctor. Most lumps are not cancerous but the earlier you find out, the earlier you can get any necessary treatment and the better the outcome is likely to be.
Diagnosis & Treatment
If your doctor thinks that you might be suffering from testicular cancer, he is likely to recommend one or more of the following options: referral to a surgeon; a blood test; a biopsy; an X-Ray; an ultrasound scan. These tests are firstly to find out whether you have testicular cancer and secondly, to discover if and how far the cancer might have spread. If you do have testicular cancer and it is caught early and the cancer has not spread, treatment will usually be the surgical removal of the cancerous testicle. If the cancer has spread, this will usually be followed by a three to four month course of chemotherapy.
Treatment for testicular cancer may be very intensive, but most patients cured of testicular cancer have no long-term side effects from treatment. It is very likely that both your fertility and your sex life will recover after the end of your treatment.
If you have a testicle removed you should have the option to have a prosthetic replacement fitted and the remaining healthy testicle tends to be able to produce enough sperm to compensate for the loss.
Testicular Cancer Self-Examination
- You should carry out these easy steps regularly. A thorough examination may be easier after a warm bath or shower as the scrotal skin relaxes. Most lumps found on the testicles are harmless but any changes in size, shape or weight should be checked by your GP.
- Support the scrotum in the palm of your hand and become familiar with the size and weight of each testicle.
- Examine each testicle by rolling it between your fingers and thumb. Gently feel for lumps, swellings, or changes in firmness.
- Each testicle has an epididymis at the top, which carries sperm to the penis. Don’t panic if you feel this – it’s normal.
- Regular self-examination will help you become more aware of the normal feel and size of your testicles so that any abnormalities can be spotted early on. If you notice anything unusual, go and see your GP as soon as you can.
www.macmillan.org.uk 0808 808 2020 (9am-9pm M-F)
firstname.lastname@example.org 0800 808 0800 (9am-9pm M-F)
www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk 0845 46 47
www.samaritans.org.uk 08457 90 90 90
www.teencancer.org 0207 387 1000
www.cancerbacup.org.uk 0808 800 1234 (9am-8pm M-F)
www.mariecurie.org.uk 0800 716 146
www.childline.org.uk 0800 1111
www.crusebereavementcare.org.uk 0844 477 9400(Day by Day Helpline) 0808 808 1677(Young persons Helpline)
www.clicsargent.org.uk 0800 197 00689 (9am-5pm M-F)
www.click4tic.org.uk/Home TIC (Teen Info on Cancer)