UHS: Take time to check for testicular cancer



October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Most people know that breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, but did you know that testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men ages 15-34?

University Health Services wants to encourage men to “feel their testicles” just as women are encouraged to “feel their boobies.”

Testicular cancer is found in the testicles and occurs when cells multiply out of control, forming a mass or lump. Factors that may increase a man’s risk for testicular cancer include an undescended testicle, abnormal testicle development, family history and age.

Symptoms of testicular cancer include a lump or enlargement in either testicle, a dull ache in the abdomen or scrotum, pain or discomfort in a testicle or the scrotum, unexplained fatigue or general feeling of not being well, among others.

Testicular cancer generally only affects one testicle. It is very rare and is highly treatable, especially when detected early.  Regular testicular self-examinations (TSE) can help identify cancer early, increasing the chance for successful treatment.

To perform a TSE, follow these steps:

1. Stand in front of a mirror.  Look for any swelling on the skin of the scrotum.

2. Examine each testicle with both hands. Place the index and middle fingers under the testicle and place the thumb on top.

3. Gently roll the testicle between the thumbs and the fingers.

If you notice anything out of the ordinary, including a lump, call your health care provider as soon as possible.

Performing monthly TSE will allow you to become familiar with the usual look and feel of your testicles.

If you have any questions about testicular cancer or how to perform a TSE, visit www.ukhealthcare.uky.edu/uhs.