AskDocQ: Why Ball-Tampering Just Might Save Your Life

testicular cancer

Most young men would not consider themselves at risk of cancer of any sort. But,  testicular cancer remains the most common cancer in men aged 20 to 34.

The outcome is usually positive. 95% of guys survive. However, that relies on early diagnosis and treatment. One in twenty guys does not survive because treatment comes too late. Let me repeat, the secret to survival is early diagnosis.

A family history of testicular cancer, or undescended testes at birth, increase your risk. But guys without those risk factors still get it.

By the way, there is absolutely no evidence that your mobile phone or your laptop computer increase your risk!

Early diagnosis makes testicular cancer very treatable, usually by a combination of surgery and chemotherapy. The affected testicle is surgically removed. Some men then have a prosthetic implant so nothing looks out of order!

Your testicles are responsible for making testosterone and sperm. However, the removal of one does not usually cause a big impact on this function.

Know your testicles intimately and detect testicular cancer early

Early detection relies on you knowing your testicles intimately, and that means giving them a good feel once a month to check for lumps. The best way to do this is in a warm shower, just rolling each ball separately between your thumb and fingers.

Testicles can feel a little lumpy anyway unless you know what you’re feeling—there’s the testis which is the big lump, then the epididymis, which is the squishy thing behind.

If you notice something feels weird or different, don’t panic, just go to your doctor. They may get you to have an ultrasound scan to see what’s what. If cancer is suspected, you will have further scans and be referred to an oncologist (cancer specialist) and a urological surgeon, who will work out the best treatment for you.

With early detection, surgery may suffice, but if the cancer spreads, doctors will also recommend chemo.

Last year over 800 Aussie guys died of testicular cancer, and most of them were in their 20s or 30s. Don’t become a statistic, start checking your balls—it could save your life!

Dr Fiona Bisshop specialises in LGBT health. For more details about any of these topics, visit Dr Fiona Bisshop’s website here or contact her on Twitter.

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Dr Fiona Bisshop

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