Testicular cancer is the number one cancer diagnosed in men ages 20-34, with around 10,000 new cases diagnosed every year. The good news is that testicular cancer is highly curable when found early. In fact, most cases of testicular cancer are found by men themselves, and 70% of these are at an early stage — before the cancer has spread beyond the testicle.
Being that the scrotal sac, including the testicles, can be a highly sensitive area for men, you may be wondering if pain is a symptom of testicular cancer, but that rarely is the case. Some men may feel a dull ache or discomfort in their testicles or groin, but the more common symptoms of testicular cancer include a change in how a testicle feels, such as a lump or swelling in either testicle. The best way for men to learn whether any change has occurred is to perform regular self-exams of their testicles.
Experts suggest performing a monthly self-exam during or after a shower, when your skin is warm and relaxed. Follow these steps:
- Examine yourself while standing
- Hold your penis out of the way and examine each testicle separately
- Gently feel your scrotal sac to locate a testicle
- Hold a testicle between your thumbs and fingers with both hands and roll it gently between your fingers
- Look for any hard lumps or masses
- Note any changes in the size, shape or consistency of your testicles
- Repeat the procedure with the other testicle
This does not mean that feeling pain or discomfort in your testicles is nothing to worry about. If you have any sort of prolonged pain in one or both testicles, you should contact your doctor immediately for an assessment, who may recommend a scrotal ultrasound. The pain could be a symptom of other serious health issues, such as a cyst, infection, or injury that needs evaluation and treatment.
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