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Men's Healthcare 2021

A check in time saves lives

iStock / Getty Images Plus / SeventyFour

Serena Wyman

Fundraising Manager, The Urology Foundation

Testicular cancer is one of the most common cancers in men aged 15-49 years old. It has a high survival rate, provided it’s caught early. 

Men may jokingly refer to their “family jewels, balls, knackers, nuts …” but are notoriously loathed to discuss anything to do with their sexual organs in a more serious way. This often includes delaying seeing their GP due to embarrassment, but delays can cost lives. 

Testicular cancer occurs when cells in the testicles grow and divide in an abnormal and uncontrollable way, causing lumps or tumours to form. In some cases, the cancer can spread beyond the testicle to other parts of the body and cause serious harm. 

Signs and symptoms to look for: 

  • A painless lump or swelling in one of the testicles. It can be the size of a pea or it may be much larger. 
  • A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum. 
  • A dull ache or discomfort in the testicle or scrotum. 

If the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or other parts of the body, you may experience some less common symptoms such as: 

  • Backache or a dull ache in the lower tummy. 
  • Lumps in lymph glands in other parts of the body, such as around the collarbone or in the neck. 
  • A cough or feeling breathless. 
  • Tender or swollen breasts. 

It’s important for men to be aware of what feels normal for them and to contact their GP if they notice any changes or anomalies. 

Know what is normal for you 

It’s important for men to be aware of what feels normal for them and to contact their GP if they notice any changes or anomalies. 

How to check yourself: 

  • The best time to check yourself is in the shower as the humidity and warmth helps relax your testicles. 
  • Hold one testicle between thumb and fingers. Gently roll it around feeling for lumps and repeat on the other testicle. 
  • If you feel any hard lumps or changes in the texture or size of your scrotum, heaviness or pain make sure you get checked out, if only for peace of mind. 

The Urology Foundation launched the “TUF Nuts Tuesday” campaign to encourage men to check their balls on the first Tuesday of the month. Rugby legend Alex Corbisiero is ambassador for the campaign knowing first-hand the importance of early diagnosis.  

The Urology Foundation is a charity funding research and training in all areas of urological cancers and diseases in order to improve survival and quality of life for sufferers. For more information visit

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