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Talk to Your Teen About Testicular Cancer

On average, about 9,100 cases of testicular cancer are diagnosed every year. It's an uncommon disease, affecting one in every 250 males during their lifetime. Although the average age at the time of diagnosis is about 33, testicular cancer can affect teens starting at 15 years old.

Luckily, when cancer is found early, it's much more curable. Talking with your teenager about how to detect testicular cancer can ensure early detection.

If you’re wondering what to say, just keep it simple. Since you don't need a medical test to find testicular cancer, explain to your teen that they can check for it on their own. Make sure they know that the disease is curable and encourage them to do a self-exam on a monthly basis.

How to Test Yourself for Testicular Cancer

The shower is a great place to do a self-check, since the skin around the testicles is relaxed, allowing them to drop.

Then, follow these steps:

  1. Hold the top of one testicle between your thumb and pointer finger while cupping the bottom with your other hand.
  2. Gently roll the testicle with a light grip feeling for hard lumps or bumps.

Performing a self-exam once a month should help your teen notice any irregularities if/when they happen. If they do notice any changes, they should let you know immediately, so you can make an appointment with their health care provider to get to the bottom of the problem.

Testicular Cancer Symptoms & Signs

Risk factors for testicular cancer include personal history of the disease, having an undescended testicle, and having an abnormal development of the testicles.

Most testicular cancers are asymptomatic but other signs and symptoms of testicular cancer may include:

  • Dull ache in the lower abdomen or the groin
  • Sudden build-up of fluid in the scrotum
  • Pain or discomfort in a testicle or in the scrotum

Talking with your children about cancer can be scary and talking with them about their reproductive organs can be awkward, but it's important. These conversations are vital when it comes to detecting this curable disease.