The month of April is Testicular Cancer Awareness Month, recognizing a rare cancer that affects young and middle-aged men. Testicular cancer is less common than other male urologic cancers, but it uniquely impacts younger generations who are often not aware of the risks and symptoms. When identified early, testicular cancer is one of the most treatable cancers.
The testicles, or testes, are male reproductive organs and have two main functions. They produce hormones, such as testosterone, and make sperm. Abnormal cells that grow out of control within the testicles form a tumor and cause testicular cancer.
An understanding of this cancer, risk factors and symptoms can help save your life or the life of a loved one. Below are five things every man should know about testicular cancer.
- The average age of males when first diagnosed with testicular cancer is about 33.1
- Symptoms can be difficult to spot. A painless lump in the testicle is the most common sign. Nearly 3 in 4 men with swelling or a lump in their testicle have cancer2. Other symptoms may include swelling, feeling of weight, and pain in the testicles.
- It is one of the most treatable cancers. An early diagnosis can yield an almost 100 percent chance of curing the cancer3. Speak to your healthcare team as soon as you notice symptoms. Men are often more reluctant to address these concerns but waiting can allow the cancer to spread to other areas of the body.
- The cause of most testicular cancers is unknown. There are a few risk factors, but many men are diagnosed without having these. You are more likely to have testicular cancer if you have a family history or an undescended testicle, a testicle that did not drop before birth.
- Self-exams are the best way to catch testicular cancer. Be sure to check yourself at least once per month. Look for changes in size, shape, or texture. The best time is after a warm bath or shower while standing and relaxed. Speak with your healthcare team about any lumps or bumps, even if they do not cause pain.