Check Your Balls

Coloured Balls

What is Testicular Cancer?

Cancer of the testicle is 1 of the less common cancers, and tends to mostly affect men between 15 and 49 years of age.

Typical symptoms are a painless swelling or lump in 1 of the testicles, or any change in shape or texture of the testicles.

It’s important to be aware of what feels normal for you. Get to know your body and see a GP if you notice any changes.

How to Check for Testicular Cancer

Have a warm shower or bath – then your ball sack will be more relaxed, and abnormalities will be easier to detect. 

First, roll your testicles between your thumb and forefinger. Check for any hard, non-sensitive lumps. Doing this examination should not cause you any pain. Don’t worry if one testicle is bigger than the other, this isn’t unusual.

Feel around the top and the back of your balls to find the epididymis , which is the tube behind your balls that collects and carries sperm. This is more sensitive than the rest of your scrotum. Once you’re familiar with this part of your scrotum, you won’t mistake it for a lump. Examine the vas (the sperm-carrying tube that extends from the epididymis) of each testicle. Cancerous lumps are generally found on the sides of your balls, but may also appear on the front. Lumps on the epididymis are not cancerous.

Checking for Testicular Cancer

Symptoms of Testicular Cancer

Typical symptoms are a painless swelling or lump in 1 of the testicles, or any change in shape or texture of the testicles.

The swelling or lump can be about the size of a pea, but may be larger.

Most lumps or swellings in the scrotum are not in the testicle and are not a sign of cancer, but they should never be ignored.

Testicular cancer can also cause other symptoms, including:

  • an increase in the firmness of a testicle
  • a difference in appearance between 1 testicle and the other
  • a dull ache or sharp pain in your testicles or scrotum, which may come and go
  • a feeling of heaviness in your scrotum

How common is testicular cancer?

Testicular cancer is a relatively rare type of cancer, accounting for just 1% of all cancers that occur in men.

Around 2,300 men are diagnosed with testicular cancer each year in the UK.

Testicular cancer is unusual compared with other cancers because it tends to affect younger men.

Although it’s relatively uncommon overall, testicular cancer is the most common type of cancer to affect men between the ages of 15 and 49.

For reasons that are unclear, white men have a higher risk of developing testicular cancer than men from other ethnic groups.

The number of cases of testicular cancer diagnosed each year in the UK has roughly doubled since the mid-1970s. Again, the reasons for this are unclear.

Photo by Greyson Joralemon on Unsplash