Although it’s less common than other types of cancer, testicular cancer differs in a significant way: a man’s average age at the time of diagnosis is much younger –age 33. Compare that to the average age when prostate cancer is diagnosed, which is 66, and it’s no surprise that few men even think about testicular cancer.
Since April is national Testicular Cancer Awareness Month, it’s an opportunity to highlight some key information about this disease.
Though the overall mortality risk is low – about one in 5,000 – risk factors can vary. Men with an increased chance of developing testicular cancer (such as a family history) should consult with a physician. Left untreated, the disease can develop into more serious and potentially deadly issues in other parts of the body.
Starting around age 25, men in higher-risk groups can perform a monthly self-examination, typically in the shower when the skin of the scrotum is relaxed. Holding a testicle between the thumb and fingers, men should gently roll it to feel for any hard lumps or nodules, or any change in the size, shape or consistency.
Too often men wait to seek evaluation after they have noticed a change on self exam, feeling too nervous, anxious or embarrassed to seek treatment. Men should know that this is a very treatable condition if caught early. Don’t delay seeking treatment if you notice a change on self exam.
If you’re unsure of your risk factors, schedule an appointment with your urologist, who can provide additional guidance and support.