Testicular Cancer Awareness Month
April is Testicular Cancer Awareness Month. The National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR) encourages men to learn the signs and symptoms and to take steps to help reduce their risk through proactive self-examination. Testicular cancer occurs when cancer cells form in the tissues of one or both testicles, the egg-shaped glands located inside the scrotum that produce testosterone and sperm. Although testicular cancer is rare and accounts for only one percent of cancers in men, it remains the most common cancer diagnosed in men ages 15-35. Men who have an undescended testicle (a testicle that has never moved down into the scrotum) are at higher risk of developing testicular cancer than men whose testicles have moved normally down into the scrotum. This is true even if surgery has been performed early in life to place the testicle in the appropriate place in the scrotum.
Signs and Symptoms
The most common symptom associated with the disease is swelling or discomfort in the scrotum. However, men who experience any of the following symptoms are encouraged to speak with their health care provider:
A painless lump or swelling in either testicle
A change in how the testicle feels
A dull ache in the lower abdomen or groin
A sudden build-up of fluid in the scrotum
Pain or discomfort in a testicle or the scrotum
According to the National Cancer Institute, there are several risk factors that can increase a man’s chance of developing the disease, including: having an undescended testicle, experiencing abnormal development of the testicles, or having a personal or family history of testicular cancer.
However, many men who are diagnosed with testicular cancer have no known risk factors for the illness. As a result, proper self-examination is critical in helping detect testicular cancer at an early stage. Contact a doctor immediately if any bumps, lumps, or other concerning changes are identified.
For more information about testicular cancer, including the latest research being conducted by researchers sponsored by the NFCR, visit the NFCR Testicular Cancer webpage.