Women do it all the time - men not so much - although both could benefit from self-screening for cancer.
“Women are very comfortable doing breast examinations; men are less comfortable in a testicular examination,” says Dr. Meir Daller. Dr. Daller is a urologist on staff of Lee Memorial Health System.
But testicular cancer is on the rise. From 1973 to 1992, rates increased by more than 50%. There are very few symptoms other than a lump.
“Testicular cancer is what I call painless mass. Most of the time you don’t have any sign or symptom beside the mass. So you are not going to have any achiness or fever or tiredness,” says Dr. Daller.
Often called a young man’s cancer, it is most common between the ages of 15 and 40. An age when men are less likely to think about cancer.
“Men are embarrassed by the cancer and present to the doctor quite late. Most men at the age of 30- 40 feel that they’re immune from health issues,” says Dr. Daller.
The self-exam comes down to knowing what feels normal for your body. Experts suggest feeling for lumps in the shower when the body is relaxed.
“It’s the easiest exam to do. Every man knows how his body feels, what’s normal and what’s abnormal,” says Dr. Daller.
The cure rate for this form of cancer is extremely high. If caught early the 5-year survival rate is 99%.
“Very few people are dying of testicular cancer. The majority of the patients are cured. But it depends when we caught the cancer,” says Dr. Daller.
Making it a good reason to get a handle on your health.