“I know it’s not a comfortable subject to talk about, but we need to talk about it because testicular cancer affects thousands of men and their families each year.”
The Hunger Games star Alexander Ludwig has joined a campaign by charity Orchid to encourage men to talk about their balls.
Why you need to ‘talk about your balls’
A survey by male cancer charity Orchid reveals:
– 42% of parents do not regularly talk to their children about health issues or concerns.
– Almost 20% of parents never broach the issue with their children.
– A worrying 30% of parents do not feel confident discussing how to check for signs and symptoms of serious and sensitive conditions like testicular cancer with their children, despite this being the most common cancer to affect young males.
– 76% would sooner refer their child to a GP rather than raise a health-related concern with them directly.
The survey highlights a lack of confidence amongst parents when bringing up health issues with their children.
Orchid Chief Executive Rebecca Porta says, “Talking to your child about the signs and symptoms of serious health issues is extremely vital, especially when it comes to testicular cancer. If caught early, the disease can be 98% curable.”
“Orchid are calling on parents across the UK to take a few minutes to educate themselves about testicular cancer, learn how to carry out simple self-checks and recognise the early warning signs and symptoms, to enable them to pass on potentially life-saving information to their children.”
How to check yourself for Testicular Cancer
The Testicular Self Examination (TSE) process itself takes only a few minutes and should be done on a monthly basis.
The best time to perform TSE is during or after a warm bath or shower when the scrotal sac is warm and relaxed.
- Check each testicle separately using one or two hands.
- Roll each testicle between the thumb and forefinger checking that the entire surface is free of lumps
- Become familiar with the feel of the epididymis collecting tube, which runs behind the testicle. This is normal and is often mistaken for new growth. Lumps in the epididymis are more common and almost invariably benign .
- Men should be encouraged to see their doctor immediately if they find any new lump
A lump isn’t always noticeable so look out for anything that feels unusual such as a dragging sensation, pain or other discomfort. Always get it checked out. Less common symptoms may be breast swelling, tenderness or unexplained back pain due to the possible spread of cancer to lymph nodes.