Chris Hughes’ brother discusses his testicular cancer diagnosis
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Cancer Research UK noted that testicular cancers are more common in younger men, especially those in their 30s. In the UK, around 2,200 men are diagnosed with the condition each year. One sensation you must not ignore is when the scrotum feels “heavy”; you must also report any pain or discomfort in that area to your doctor. The first symptom of testicular cancer, for one in five men, is “a sharp pain in the testicle or scrotum”.
Be prepared for a doctor to shine a strong light through your testicle to check for cancer.
Known as a transillumination test, light can show through a harmless, fluid-filled cyst (known as a hydrocoele) in the scrotum.
However, light will not pass through a cancerous lump, which is why this test can play a key role in identifying the cancer.
Three sensations of testicular cancer:
- A heavy scrotum
- A sharp pain in the scrotum
- Discomfort in the scrotum.
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Another possible indication of a growing tumour in that area is if you feel a lump in the testicle.
“A lump or swelling in part of one testicle is the most common symptom of a testicular cancer,” said Cancer Research UK.
The lump or swelling can be as small as a pea, or much, much larger, so it’s important to check yourself on a regular basis.
If the cancer has spread from the testicles to the lymph glands, other symptoms might arise.
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For example, cancerous cells that have invaded the lymph glands at the back of the stomach may cause backache or a dull ache in the lower tummy.
If the cancer has travelled to lymph glands higher up, you might feel lumps around the collarbone or in the neck.
Occasionally, men might have swollen or tender breast tissue due to the hormones made by the cancer.
These hormones – alpha feta protein (AFP), human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG), and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) – can be detected in blood tests.
However, these cancerous markers may not be present in all cases of testicular cancers, which is why diagnosis requires various testing.
Other medical testing methods might include an ultrasound and MRI scan.
Am I at risk of testicular cancer?
Men with fertility issues have an increased risk of testicular cancer.
Examples of fertility issues include:
- Low semen concentration
- Sperm that doesn’t move around as much as normal
- A high proportion of abnormal sperm.
“In the UK, white men have a higher risk of testicular cancer than men from other ethnic groups,” said Cancer Research UK.
Men who have a brother or father who have had testicular cancer also have an increased risk of developing the disease.
To be specific, men whose father had testicular cancer are around four times more likely to develop the disease themselves.
Men who have a brother with testicular cancer are around eight times more likely to develop the disease.
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