Well, it’s that time of year again when a young man’s thoughts turn to turkey, football and—of course—testicles, which can only mean one thing: it’s Movember! Here at GR8NESS, we want to do our part to help raise awareness of men’s health issues, so we decided to tackle (so to speak) testicles or, to be more specific, screening yourself for testicular cancer.
The Stats on Testicular Cancer
You might be surprised to learn that testicular cancer is pretty rare. About 1 in every 250 males will develop testicular cancer at some point during their lifetime.
It primarily affects young and middle-aged men, however, since most testicular cancers can be found at an early stage, a man’s lifetime risk of dying from it is very low, about 1 in 5,000.
As for how you go about searching for lumps or abnormalities on your testicles, this is where things get a lot more—shall we say—handsy.
How Often Should I Touch Base with My Testes?
Many doctors recommend that all men examine their testicles monthly after puberty. Personally, that sounds like a bit too much testicle time. But, as with most self-examinations, the frequency and thoroughness in which you conduct them is best left in your hands or, in this particular case, fingers.
Well, I’ve put it off as long as I could, guys. It’s time to get touchy-feely with your testes. I think if we both focus on the importance of the task at hand, it won’t feel even remotely weird.
The best time to conduct a self-examination of your testicles is after a warm bath or shower when your scrotal sack is soft and relaxed (ok, that got weird remarkably fast). Keep in mind that it’s also perfectly normal for one testicle to be slightly larger and/or hang lower than the other.
Let Your Fingers Do the Walking
Now, take your testicle and gently roll it between your thumb and forefinger. The operative word here is gentle. You’re palpating your testicles looking for abnormalities, not checking an avocado for ripeness—easy does it, champ.
You’re feeling for any lumps or irregularities, as well as any changes in size, shape, or texture. When you’re done with one testicle switch to the other.
You also want to check your epididymis (19 Scrabble points, for those who play), which are the soft tube-like structures behind the testicle that collects and carries sperm. Same drill—feel for any lumps or anything that doesn’t feel quite right.
FACT: None of this will feel quite right.
What to Do If You Find Something
If you discover something that you think shouldn’t be there, you should seek medical advice right away. While it’s true that testicular cancer is rarely fatal, it can spread quickly, so early detection is crucial.
A Note from GR8NESS
While we’ve had our fun here, cancer of any kind is no laughing matter. I encourage all men out there—not just in Movember but throughout the year—to periodically self-check for testicular cancer, as well as visit your doctor for regular prostate cancer screenings. After all, not addressing something as crucial as your health is—say it with me—nuts!