TESTICULAR CANCER – CHECK YOUR NUTS!

Posted by Heather Doggett on 19 March 2019

April is Testicular Cancer Awareness Month

Testicular cancer occurs when normal, healthy cells, which are carefully regulated in the body, begin to reproduce uncontrollably in the testicles. It usually occurs in one testicle but can occur in both.

  • 2,400  men are diagnosed with testicular cancer every year in the UK – that’s more than 6 per day
  • Testicular cancer is 98% curable if detected early – meaning men surviving 10 years or more
  • Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men aged 15-45 with the highest incidence in men aged 30-34
  • Testicular cancer is on the rise– incidence rates have increased by more than a quarter since the early 1990s

Risk Factors for Testicular Cancer

A risk factor is anything that changes your chance of getting a disease such as cancer. Different cancers have different risk factors. Some risk factors, like smoking and diet, can be changed. Others, like a person’s age or family history, can’t be changed.

But having a risk factor, or even many, does not mean that you will get the disease. Just as not having risk factors doesn’t mean you won’t get the disease. And some people who get the disease may not have had any known risk factors. Even if a person with testicular cancer has a risk factor, it’s often very hard to know how much that risk factor contributed to the cancer.

Scientists have found few risk factors that make someone more likely to develop testicular cancer. Most boys and men with testicular cancer don’t have any of the known risk factors. Risk factors for testicular cancer include:

  • An undescended testicle
  • Family history of testicular cancer
  • HIV infection
  • Carcinoma in situ of the testicle
  • Having had testicular cancer before
  • Being of a certain race/ethnicity
  • Body size

Unproven or controversial risk factors

Prior injury or trauma to the testicles and recurrent actions such as horseback riding do not appear to be related to the development of testicular cancer.  Most studies have not found that strenuous physical activity increases testicular cancer risk. Being physically active has been linked with a lower risk of several other forms of cancer as well as a lower risk of many other health problems.

Who treats testicular cancer?

You may have different types of doctors on your treatment team, depending on the stage of your cancer and your treatment options. These doctors may include:

  • urologist: a surgeon who specializes in treating diseases of the urinary system and male reproductive system
  • A radiation oncologist: a doctor who treats cancer with radiation therapy
  • medical oncologist: a doctor who treats cancer with medicines like chemotherapY

You might have many other specialists on your treatment team as well, including physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, nutrition specialists, social workers, and other health professionals.

Treating Testicular Cancer

 If you’ve been diagnosed with testicular cancer, your treatment team will discuss your options with you. It’s important to weigh the benefits of each treatment option against the possible risks and side effects. It is usually treated by:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • High dose chemotherapy and stem cell transplant

HOW TO CHECK YOUR NUTS

Useful websites:

https://orchid-cancer.org.uk

www.yourprivates.org.uk

https://baggytrousersuk.org/check-your-nuts

https://www.cancer.org

Gill Cooksey, Occupational Health Advisor