By: Dr. Thomas Incledon
Self-Exams Aren’t Only for Women. Guys, Learn How to Check Yourself.
Everyone knows about breast self-exams as a preventative measure for breast cancer, but did you know that men should perform regular self-exams on their testicles? Well, it’s true. They are simple to do and could be life-saving.
How can you check yourself?
The most common place to perform a self-exam is in the shower, but you can do it anywhere that you have privacy. Hold the scrotum with one hand and then use the other hand to feel around the skin and each testis. You are searching for lumps or bumps that you have never felt before. You are also feeling for something swollen or painful to the touch.
What if I find something?
If you discover a bump or feel pain, schedule an appointment with your doctor immediately. It may turn out to be nothing, but if it is cancer, it is much easier to treat early on, so better to have peace of mind and get things checked. Your physician will do an examination and may order diagnostic tests, such as a blood draw or ultrasound. The bloodwork will reveal any markers for cancer and give a picture of liver and kidney function.
With the results of all these tests, your doctor will work toward a diagnosis. Most physicians will also look at HCG and alpha fetoprotein levels; these markers help determine the type of testicular cancer present and then they know how to better treat your cancer. Depending on the bloodwork and other symptoms you report, your physician may order more advanced imaging, like an MRI or CT scan, to determine next steps and/or recommendations for a treatment protocol.
What are symptoms of testicular cancer?
Some symptoms of testicular cancer, such as a lump or enlargement of the testicle, a sensation of heaviness in the scrotum, a dull ache in the abdomen or groin, the sudden collection of fluid in scrotum that leads to swelling, and pain or discomfort in the scrotum are obvious. Others however are referred pain caused by the swelling in the testicles, but you might not attribute them to testicular cancer. These include enlargement or tenderness in chest, an increase in back pain, or pain in one knee or hip. Because testicular cancer usually only affects one side, the referred pain is often also experienced on the affected side of the body. “This is another reason it’s important to pay attention to signs in your body,” says Dr. Tom Incledon, Founder & CEO of Causenta. “Being aware of what is happening or changing can lead to early detection of cancer and ultimately save your life.”
Are there risk factors for testicular cancer?
There are a few things that make men more susceptible to developing testicular cancer. When males are born, they can have a testicle that is not descended; in other words, it is trapped in the abdomen. This and other medical conditions can affect the development of the testicles, increasing your risk of developing testicular cancer later in life. Family history, being between the ages of 15 and 35, and being Caucasian also increase the risk for testicular cancer.
If you are interested in learning more about testicular cancer and treatment options with Causenta, contact us for a complimentary 30-minute consultation today.