Men’s Health #3- Testicular Self-Exam
June is Men’s Health awareness month, so we’re sending out a big reminder to check your balls!! At the top of the list is testicular cancer, one of the most common types of cancers in young men today. Affecting those 15 to 34, and many others out of this age range, over 7,500 new cases occur in the USA every year. Certain groups of men, like Caucasian males, those with a family history, undescended testes, orchitis (inflammation of the testicles), frequent testicular swelling and hernias are also in a higher risk category.
All men should be regularly checking their testes for lumps, bumps, or anything out of the ordinary. By frequently checking, detection of abnormalities happens sooner, and treatment can be completed before the cancer takes a bad turn. There are specific issues that could signal something is happening inside the testicles. You’ll want to watch for lumps, tenderness or swelling of testicle or tissue, a dull, heavy ache in the abdomen or pelvic area, fatigue, or fluid in the scrotum. That said, most lumps in the testicles are not cancer. Cancer can only be diagnosed by a doctor.
How to Self-Exam
First, take a relaxing shower or bath to help the testes relax, and loosen up. This will help you find anything out of the ordinary. Doing this with a mirror can help you see irregularities, and get to know your body. Don’t worry- Yes! Testicles can be asymmetrical! Hold your penis out of the way the best that you can. The index and middle finger should be placed under the testicle, with the thumbs placed on top.
You should check for the vas deferens, or spermatic cord, which is a firm, thin tube. Then move on to each testicle, being checked by both hands. Roll the testicle gently, checking the entire for anything hard, fixed in one place, or nodules of any kind. If you find any irregularities, contact your doctor and schedule an appointment for further testing.
With self-examination, testicular cancers can be caught very early and often treated fully back to a cancer free state. Most doctors now suggest checking your testes monthly! Check often! Be thorough! Be your own advocate! Prolong your life!