Checking for Testicular Cancer

Checking for Testicular Cancer

The comic Tom Green wasn’t laughing when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2000, according to his autobiography Hollywood Causes Cancer. And ice skater extraordinaire Scott Hamilton went into a spin in 1997 when he was diagnosed at age 38. Thankfully, they survived and have worked to raise awareness of the disease that affects about 8,500 men a year. Most guys are around 33 when diagnosed, but about 7% of cases occur in children and teens; only 7% occur in men older than 55.

Because it’s rare -- and over 90% of all newly diagnosed cases of testicular cancer will be cured -- the U.S. Preventive Task Force does NOT recommend regular testicular self-exams. But Dr. James McKiernan, urologist-in-chief at New York–Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center recently told BuzzFeed it’s best if guys know what’s healthy and what’s a warning sign of trouble: Even though you can cure later stage cases, the more aggressive anti-cancer treatments can take a toll, and he says,  “…you can really lose out if you have to be treated for a high-stage testicular cancer versus low-stage.”

So, fellas, don’t get obsessed with it -- but take a moment to feel the testes inside your scrotum (the skin surrounding them). They’ll feel like a hard-boiled egg. But if there’s an area that seems like a hard boiled egg with a piece of shell still on it -- it’s dense and doesn’t give when pressed -- have the cojones to ask your doctor to take a look too.

Medically reviewed in November 2019.

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