Balls, cojones, nuts, your local sidekicks, bollocks, nads, family jewels – whatever you call them, testicles are very important and so is their well-being. April is Testicular Cancer Awareness Month, so to get into the spirit of all things ballsy, here’s a quick guide on how to keep your balls nice and healthy, along with some facts that show just how special testicles are.
Unlike many cancers, testicular cancer is particularly common in younger people, usually affecting men between ages 15 to 35. American Cancer Society estimates that 8,720 new cases of testicular cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year alone. Out of these, 380 men will die.
The most common symptom is a painless lump on the testicle. Other less common symptoms can include a dull ache, discomfort or an unusual feeling of heaviness in the scrotum. If you’re ever unsure, it’s always best to pay your doctor a visit.
Medical professionals recommend men of any age give their testicles a small self-examination at least every month. Here’s how you do it.
- It’s recommended you do it after a hot bath or shower as the skin is more relaxed and loose.
- Place the index and middle fingers under the testicle with the thumbs places on top. Firmly but gently roll the testicle between the thumbs and fingers to feel for any bumps on the surface.
- Find the epididymis, that’s the soft, rope-like structure on the back of the testicle. This can easily be mistaken for an irregular mass due to its odd shape. But, if you get to know it, it should be easier to spot anything genuinely irregular.
It takes just a few minutes and it could save your life. The statistics might be scary, but if testicular cancer is detected early there is a 95 percent survival rate.