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Testicular cancer: what to look out for

Doctors at NHS Blackburn with Darwen and NHS East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are encouraging local residents to learn more about the symptoms of testicular cancer, as part of male cancer awareness week (April 17-23).

The awareness week, which is supported by the Orchid charity, aims to increase public understanding of testicular, prostate and penile cancer. The most common type of cancer for men aged 15-45 years old is testicular cancer, which affects more than 2,200 men each year.

As with all forms of cancer, the sooner testicular cancer is diagnosed the higher the chance of survival. This is why men are encouraged to perform testicular self-examinations at least once every month.
Symptoms of testicular cancer include:

• In around 90% of cases a small pea sized lump can be found.
• An ache in the scrotum.
• A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum.

It is likely that if any lumps are found they will not cause you any harm – 96% of abnormalities found affecting the testicles will not be cancerous.

If you notice any changes you should contact your GP for a consultation, or for a confidential talk call the National Orchid Male Cancer Helpline on 0808 802 0010. This free service operates between Monday and Wednesday during the hours of 10am-5pm.

Dr Neil Smith GP lead for cancer commissioning for Blackburn with Darwen and East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs): “Testicular cancer is one of the most treatable cancers. The majority of men or boys who are diagnosed with the condition go on to live for over five years.

“Nevertheless, it is still very important to do self-examinations at least once a month. You should check for any lumps in the scrotum or anything that may seem a little bit different to normal.
“If you think you may be experiencing symptoms of testicular cancer visit your GP for a check-up and to see if you need any further tests.”

The main factors that can increase a man’s chance of developing testicular cancer include: undescended testicles, which is when the testicle does not descend into the scrotum, a family history of testicular cancer or if you have previously been diagnosed with the condition.

For more information and to find out what help is available, visit the NHS Choices website.

Alternatively, you can visit the Orchid cancer charity website to find out how they aim to raise awareness of the condition and how you can get involved.