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Feeling of ‘heaviness’ in scrotum could signal testicular cancer – other signs to spot

More than 2,000 men are diagnosed with testicular cancer. Luckily it is one of the most treatable forms of cancer, and it equates to less than one percent of all cancer deaths among men in the UK each year. Despite this it is still vital to be aware of the symptoms.

Testicular cancer arises when abnormal cells grow at a fast rate and form together to create a tumour within the testicles.

There are two types of testicular cancer, one is seminoma and the other is non-seminoma.

Both are similar, however, seminoma usually affects men in their 40s and 50s, whilst non-seminoma is usually diagnosed in men in their early 20s and 30s and is faster growing.

Navin Khosla, superintendent pharmacist at From Mars, spoke to Express.co.uk about the importance of checking your testicles on a regular basis.

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He said: “Although testicular cancer is rare compared to other types of cancer and affects around one in 250 people, it is still one of the most common forms of cancer between men aged 15 to 35, which highlights the importance of understanding the warning signs and knowing how to check your testicles correctly.

“Several of the most common warning signs of testicular cancer can be easily noticed, such as pain or a lump, but this isn’t the case for all and some of the symptoms aren’t as easy to discover, which is why it’s important to check your testicles at least once a month.

“If you have noticed any of the warning signs then it’s important to contact your doctor as they can carry out further examinations and tests.

“It’s more than likely you won’t have testicular cancer but seeking professional advice means that any growth can be dealt with sooner rather than later and your treatment plan can start swiftly.”

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According to Mr Kholsa, one such warning sign is a feeling of “heaviness” in the scrotum.

The other four most common symptoms to look for are:

  • A lump, swelling or enlargements in your testicle(s) that doesn’t cause pain
  • A feeling of increased firmness in your testicle(s)
  • A dull ache or a sharp pain in your testicle(s) or scrotum, which can come and go
  • A difference in appearance between your two testicles.

How to perform a testicular cancer check yourself

Step 1 – First, it’s best to have a warm shower to relax your scrotum which will make the process easier, but this isn’t essential.

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Step 2 – Gently hold one of your testicles and carefully roll it between your thumb and fingers. At this point, you’re looking for any lumps, pain, changes in texture etc.

Step 3 – Repeat the same process on the other testicle.

Treatment

Usually surgery is the first treatment for testicular cancer.

After this you might need one of the following or a combination of: monitoring (surveillance), chemotherapy, radiotherapy – as explained by Cancer Research UK below.

Surgery – You are likely to have surgery to remove your testicle as your first treatment. This is called an orchidectomy or orchiectomy. You might also need surgery to remove lymph nodes in your tummy or secondary cancer in your lungs.

Monitoring (surveillance) – Some people don’t need further treatment after surgery if the risk of your cancer coming back is low but will have regular tests to check for early signs of the cancer returning.

Chemotherapy – Chemotherapy uses drugs that circulate in the bloodstream to destroy cancer cells. It is a common treatment if you have a higher risk of your cancer coming back, or the cancer has spread.

Radiotherapy – Radiotherapy uses high energy waves to kill cancer cells.

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