Reducing your risk of testicular cancer

Testicular cancer is not a common cancer, but it is the most commonly diagnosed cancer after skin cancer in men aged 18–39.

In most cases, treatment for testicular cancer will lead to remission or cure.

The exact cause of testicular cancer is unknown. Any man can develop it, but it is more common in men who were born with an undescended or partially descended testicle or testicles. The risk is higher if you have a relative who has had testicular cancer, or if you have a personal history of the disease. Being hit in the testicles and wearing tight underwear don’t cause testicular cancer.

Finding testicular cancer early

Most cases of testicular cancer are found by accident by the men themselves. From puberty onwards, all men should examine their testicles to work out what feels normal for them.

There is no correct technique for checking your testicles. You should simply get into the habit of feeling and looking at them in a way that is comfortable for you. It’s easiest to check your testicles when they’re warm and relaxed – after a shower or bath is ideal.

Look for any of the following warning signs:

  • a hard lump on the front or side of the testicle
  • a change in the size or shape of the testicle
  • pain or discomfort in the testicle, scrotum or lower abdomen
  • an unusual difference between the testicles, e.g. in size
  • a heavy or dragging feeling in the scrotum.

Having any of these symptoms doesn’t mean you have testicular cancer. See your doctor if you are concerned.

This information was last reviewed in December 2015
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