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Every woman should know the answer to this question…
Finding a lump down there is one of the most terrifying things a guy can experience. But if the lump really is testicular cancer, catching it early could save his life.
Testicular cancer is one of the most curable forms of cancer, but a guy’s chances of beating it drop if it spreads before it’s diagnosed.
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For example, 99 percent of men with localised testicular cancer – meaning it hasn’t spread from the testis – survive more than five years. But the rate drops to 74 percent once it spreads to distant organs, according to data from the US National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program (SEER).
Here’s how to be proactive about your guy’s testicular health.
Should He Perform Regular Testicular Self-Exams?
Currently, the US Preventive Task Force recommends against routine testicular self-exams. A big part of that is because they believe that guys might be unnecessarily stressed out by finding things on the self-exam that they think are harmful – but aren’t, says urologist Dr Tobias Kohler.
It’s possible that parts of his testicular anatomy – say, his spermatic cord or epididymis, the tube that connects the testicle to the vas deferens – might feel bumpy enough to freak him out, but they are perfectly normal, says Kohler.
At his next visit with the doctor, your guy should ask him or her to point them out so he knows what they feel like.
Once he has these structures squared away, he should be able to pick up on any potentially problematic changes in his testicles, says Kohler.
That’s why many urology experts still believe it’s smart for guys to check their balls.
In fact, Kohler and Men’s Health urology advisor Dr Larry Lipshultz, both recommend men examine their testicles once a month. Here’s how to get started – and where you can step in to assist…
How To Perform A Testicular Self-Exam
The best place to testicles a once-over is in the shower. That’s because the warmth will relax a man’s scrotum and make it easier to feel any abnormalities, says urologist Dr Nicholas Cost.
Start at the top of the left testicle. Hold it between the thumb and fingers of both hands, and gently roll it between the fingers as you move down. Repeat on the right side.
Be on the lookout for any hard lumps, smooth or rounded bumps, or unusual changes in the size, shape and consistency of the testicle, Cost says.
You might not be able to feel a mass itself, but it could make his testicle feel very firm.
It can be scary to find something weird, but just know that not all irregularities point definitively to testicular cancer, says Kohler.
For instance, if the testicles feel like what can only be described as a bag of worms, it might be varicoceles, or enlarged veins in the testicles.
You may also find innocuous bumps that are just cysts or the result of a testicular torsion, which is a painful condition where the testicle gets twisted and swells up.
Only the doctor can know for sure, though. So if you notice a bump or lump that feels different, suddenly appears, or just worries you, schedule an appointment with a urologist right away.
This information was originally published on www.mh.co.za