#KnowThyNuts. While the hashtag, on its surface, sounds a bit funny, it is actually a call to action. According to a news release from Movember Canada, testicular cancer, though rare, is the most common cancer in men between ages 15-35. However, many men do not know how to perform a testicular self-examination. More than that, COVID-19 has interrupted the healthcare sphere, which means people are not getting as many check-ups or having as many important conversations. That’s why Movember is raising awareness for Testicular Cancer Awareness Month.
For years, Movember, a charity, has been working to raise awareness around a variety of issues affecting males, from prostate and testicular cancers to mental health, depression, and suicide prevention. During this awareness month, they are now advocating for men to get more comfortable with themselves – and their testicles.
According to research performed by Movember, up to 62% of those most at risk of developing testicular cancer do not know how to perform a testicular self-examination. That’s why they’re offering the #KnowThyNuts resources. In a video, Movember describes how to perform one of these examinations – and when to go to your doctor if you feel like something just isn’t right. Additionally, Movember offers a variety of patient stories to amplify their voices and raise awareness.
In terms of testicular cancer, early detection is crucial in treatment and prognosis. But how has the pandemic changed the diagnostic process? Unfortunately, many people are concerned about coronavirus exposure if they go to the doctor or do not believe that there are doctors available. Sometimes they are told to postpone certain procedures or check-ups. Yet this means that the diagnostic odyssey takes longer and more people have their cancer progressing to advanced stages. As a result, treatment options are more invasive: radiation, chemotherapy, or surgery.
Diagnosed with Testicular Cancer?
If you have been diagnosed with testicular cancer, Movember also has a resource for you: Nuts & Bolts. This community offers:
- A sense of companionship and friendship on your journey
- Information on fertility, diagnosis, treatment, and more
- Stories from other patients, including videos on treatment, surgery, and recovery
- Facts about testicular cancer
- Community boards to ask questions and receive answers from patients and doctors alike
- A Guide / volunteer to help you on your journey
- Note: Guides are only available for those in Australia or the United Kingdom. However, Movember hopes to soon have Guides available in other countries as well.
Nearly all testicular cancer begins in the germ cells, or testicular cells which produce immature sperm. As the name suggests, testicular cancer occurs in the testicles (testes), glands located inside of the scrotum. These glands create sperm and testosterone, a type of hormone. However, in cases of cancer, the abnormal cells grow out of control. Risk factors include a family or personal history of cancer, abnormal testicular development, and having an undescended testicle.
Altogether, there are two main forms of testicular cancer: seminomas, which appear in older men, and non-seminomas, which are more aggressive. Typically, the cancer first (or only) affects a singular testicle. Thus, if you are experiencing symptoms but only in one testicle, this is normal for this cancer. Symptoms include:
- Testicular inflammation
- A lump in one or both testicles
- Back pain
- Fluid collection in the scrotum
- Abdominal or groin pain
- Testicular pain
- A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
- Swelling or tenderness of male breast tissue
Even after the cancer spreads, this cancer is usually highly treatable. If you experience any of the above symptoms, especially for 2 weeks or more, please visit your doctor.
Learn more about testicular cancer here.