June is Men’s Health Month, so we at Advanced Physical Therapy and Fitness thought that we would do our part in educating on one particular men’s health issue: testicular cancer. Testicular cancer is not a common cancer, especially in comparison to breast cancer in women; however, screening for it is pivotal. The average age at the time of diagnosis is 33, which means that examination should occur early in life. One particular form of examination is a self-exam. It is recommended that men perform a self-examination beginning at age 14.
So how does one perform a self-exam for testicular cancer? First off, self-examination is best performed after a warm bath or shower because the heat relaxes the scrotal muscles. As per The Urology Care Foundation, the sequence of examination is as follows:
- Examine the scrotum visually for swelling
- Gently feel the scrotal sac to locate a testicle
- Examine each testicle separately by firmly and gently rolling each testicle between the thumb and fingers of both hands to examine the entire surface
It is important to note that it is normal for one testicle to be lower or slightly larger than the other and to feel a cord-like structure (the epididymis) on the top and back of each testicle. Each testicle should feel firm, but not rock hard. Abnormal results include:
- Finding a small hard lump (pea-size)
- Experiencing pain or tenderness
- Any other concerning differences between the testicles
If any of these are discovered during your self-exam, contact your physician or urologist as soon as possible.
Despite the fact that this form of cancer is rare, it is still the most common cancer in men under 35 years of age. Many testicular cancers are first discovered by men themselves or their sexual partners due to a lump or swollen testicle being felt. Certain men are at a higher risk than others and should perform self-examination on a monthly basis. Those at higher risk include men with the following:
- Family history of testicular cancer
- Past testicular tumor
- Undescended testicle
- Teenagers/young adults (ages 14 to about 35)
If this form of cancer is discovered early and is treated right away, there is a very high cure rate. So don’t hesitate to contact your doctor regarding any abnormal examinations because the sooner the problem is detected and treated, the better the results.
We hope that this blog was informative. If you have any questions on this topic or any others in which you are interested, feel free to leave any questions, comments, or suggestions. Thank you for reading and stay active.