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Are Testicular Self-Exams Necessary?

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Testicular failure (endocrine disease related) diagnosis medical concept on tablet screen with stethoscope

With other cancers being so prevalent, testicular cancer is not a type that we tend to hear much about. However, statistics indicate that more than 350 men lose their lives to testicular cancer each year, and another 10,000 men are diagnosed with this frightening condition every year. This means we need to talk about it. Men between the ages of 15 and 34, in particular, should be interested in knowing more about how to identify the signs of testicular cancer, and what to do if indications are discovered.

What causes testicular cancer?

Testicular cancer occurs when cells within a testicle begin to grow abnormally. This abnormal cellular function leads to excessive growth or cancer. This is the same basic principle seen with all forms of cancer. Unlike other forms, however, we don’t know why cells change in the testicles. What research has discovered are links between abnormal testicular development, lack of descension (undescended testicle), and a higher likelihood of testicular cancer.

Recognizing Symptoms

It is interesting that women are encouraged to examine breast tissue on a routine basis, and that we are all advised to examine our skin regularly for signs of cancer. This same level of care has yet to spread to men’s health regarding testicular self-exams. Some believe that a self-exam has no bearing on the outcome of treatment for testicular cancer. There may be some truth to this, but familiarity with testicular health does have its benefits.

Why wait for an anomaly in a testicle to accidentally reveal itself? Why not get to know the signs and symptoms of testicular cancer, and couple this with awareness of your own body? A testicular exam does not take long, and it is not involved by any means. A simple observation for swelling and lumps will do. Don’t just look at the testicles, though, feel them, as well. Gently rolling testicular tissue between the thumb and fingers can alert you to a lump, swelling, or tenderness that could indicate the need for medical care.

Treatments for testicular cancer are successful even in more advanced cases. However, early care is advantageous because it can prevent the metastasis of cancer from the testicle to the lymph nodes.

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