ONE of the barriers to an early cancer diagnosis is that the symptoms are so difficult to spot.
They can go unrecognised for far too long.
In the case of testicular cancer, signs may be “fleeting”, experts say, meaning they are not always there.
If you ever find yourself questioning some bizarre and new symptoms, it’s always best to get it checked out as soon as possible.
There are a handful of general symptoms which apply to almost all cancer patients – pain, night sweats, unexplained weight loss, a lump or swelling or fatigue.
The NHS says: “It's important to be aware of any new or worrying symptoms.
“Although it's unlikely to be cancer, it's important to speak to a GP so they can investigate.”
Testicular cancer is rare but diagnosed in around 2,354 men every year, causing 60 deaths.
In the UK, 99 per cent of men survive for a year or more after being diagnosed, while 98 per cent survive for five or more years.
One in every 215 men in the UK will be diagnosed with testicular cancer in their lifetime, usually between the ages of 15 and 50.
The main symptom is a painless swelling or lump in one of the testicles – which is why it’s important to check the scrotum regularly to become familiar with what it should feel like.
The swelling or lump can be about the size of a pea, but may be larger.
Secondly, a change in shape or texture of the testicles may also be an early sign.
Other less common symptoms of testicular cancer include firmness, a difference in appearance and a feeling of heaviness.
But there is one symptom that “may come and go”, the NHS says.
Sometimes people with the disease experience bouts of a dull ache or sharp pain in the testicles or scrotum.
Former NHS worker Michael Carson told the Express: “There can occasionally be some fleeting pain, but generally there is none; just a change in the texture or shape of the testicles and lump that can be felt.”
It’s vital to get checked just in case. But usually, pain in the testicle wouldn’t be cancer.
It could be due to inflammation (orchitis or epididymitis) fluid build-up (hydrocele) or kidney stones.
Most lumps on the scrotum tend to be caused by something else, too, for example swollen blood vessels (varicoceles) or cysts.
Treatment of testicular cancer tends to involve the surgical removal of the affected testicle, but this can be replaced with a prosthetic one.
If both testicles are removed, the patient will be left infertile – but some men can bank their sperm before this happens.
After surgery chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy is used to treat testicular cancer if further treatment is required.
How do you check your testicles?
First it's important to know what feels normal.
It's a good idea to have a hot shower before checking them, then gently roll your testicle between your thumb and finger.
Then repeat for the other testicle.
Repeat this every week so you get a feel for their shape and size.
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