The most common cancer among men aged 15-39 in Canada is testicular cancer. The Movember Foundation is urging men to “check their balls” on a regular basis during Testicular Cancer Awareness Month this April.
While many men get a physical each year, it’s also important to routinely do self-checks to make sure everything is normal down below.
“An annual physical is another great example of how a man can become more proactively involved in taking control of their own health, however, once a year isn’t quite frequent enough for testicular self-examinations, as cancer can advance quite quickly,” Sam Gledhill, Global Director Testicular Cancer at the Movember Foundation, told Pursuit. “We recommend checking roughly monthly, and (most importantly!) following up with your doctor before your physical if something changes, starts to hurt, or generally doesn’t feel right.”
The foundation recommends men examine their balls in the shower. Roll one testicle between the thumb and fingers to get to know what’s normal, and then do the same thing with the other nut. Check out this handy self-check guide here.
Men who have a family history of testicular cancer or had undescended testes at birth are at an increased risk. Those who’ve had testicular cancer before are also more vulnerable to the disease.
Most men who self-check have no problems. Those who do so regularly and see a doctor when something doesn’t feel right are on track to living healthier and longer lives. “One thing we are really careful about is avoiding making this sound like a recipe or a prescription,” Gledhill explained.
Men’s significant others can also make sure their partners are taking care of their bodies. “There’s no reason why a partner can’t be involved if that works, however, what’s really important for us, is that men understand what feels normal for them, and are performing self-checks regularly so they can tell if something changes, becomes uncomfortable, hurts or just doesn’t feel right,” Gledhill noted. “We do know that a man’s partner is a huge source of support for them, and they can absolutely help encourage them to go see a doctor and be there for them through the process”