This week is Men’s Health Week, and research has found that more than a quarter (26%) of UK males have never checked themselves for signs of testicular cancer, while a further 15% only check themselves once a year or less.
A new study, commissioned by health experts at Livi, the online GP service, has found that surprising numbers of men are not checking themselves for testicular cancer, despite it becoming increasingly common, with an increase of 24% since the 90s.
Younger generations appear to be significantly less likely to check their testicles, with nearly half (46%) of 18–24-year-olds admitting that they had never checked themselves for cancer. This is particularly concerning as testicular cancer is the most common form of cancer amongst young men, particularly those in their early 30’s.
However, older generations appeared to be significantly more likely to check themselves. Those aged 25–34 years old were found to be the most likely, with only 21% stating they had never checked their testicles.
The survey also revealed which signs of the cancer men are most likely to recognise, with over three quarters (77%) of men recognising lumps as a symptom, but only a third (34%) identifying heaviness in the scrotum and a difference in appearance between the testicles (33%) as potential signs.
The 5 most recognisable signs of testicular cancer:
- Lumps – 77% knew this was a sign
- Enlargement of testicles – 58%
- Pain or discomfort in testicles – 46%
- Heaviness in scrotum – 34%
- Difference in appearance between testicles – 33%
Additionally, many men incorrectly identified unrelated symptoms as signs of cancer, including sexual impotence (18%) and discomfort in the penis (21%).
Dr Rhianna McClymont, Lead GP at Livi, provides a step-by-step guide for checking for signs of testicular cancer:
- The best time to check yourself is during, or after a warm bath or shower. This helps to relax the testicles and make them easier for you to examine.
- Hold your testicle in your palm and gently examine each one with your thumb and forefinger.
- You’re looking for any type of abnormality, or difference in feel. Your testicles should feel smooth and firm, but not hard.
- Make sure you check yourself regularly and if you notice any lumps, or hardness in the testicles, get yourself checked by a medical professional as soon as possible.
Dr. McClymont adds: “Testicular cancer, like any form of cancer, can strike at any age, but it’s more common in younger people, so we recommend beginning checks in puberty.
“If you notice any lumps or difference in the feel of your testicles, then it’s important to speak to a doctor to get checked out immediately. These symptoms are not a guarantee you have cancer, but they can be indicators, so it’s always vital to see a medical professional if you spot any signs.”
This article is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians. The reader should regularly consult a physician in matters relating to his/her health and particularly with respect to any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention.