Thursday, 19 July 2012

New Balls Please - Testicular Cancer, DO YOU KNOW THE SIGNS?

New Balls Please

Here at Fine Fettle we have a broad range of people using our services – young, old, sporty, the less active, men and women.  This means, particularly for our manual therapy professionals, we need to have an awareness of some of the health issues facing particular groups of patients and it is one of the reasons why we take such a thorough case history when you first come to see us – we need to make sure (as much as we can) that we are dealing with a condition which is treatable using manual therapy and there is not some underlying condition which is causing your symptoms.

Some groups are better than others at doing various health checks – sorry guys it does tend to be the ladies who are more aware of what they should be doing on a regular basis.  Quite a few of the health issues avoided tend to have an element of embarrassment which also contributes to certain groups being less health aware about conditions that can affect them.  In particular teenage boys and young men can be unaware of what they should be doing.  So here goes ....

Testicular Cancer ...  is a young man’s disease, and yet this age group can have the greatest sense of invincibility from illness.  It affects around 2,000 men a year in the UK and is the most common form of cancer in men aged between 15-44 years old.    For some reason (as of yet unknown) the incidence of testicular cancer has more than doubled since 1975.  Other factors which can increase the chances are:  a significant risk is an undescended testis at birth; inherited genetic factors can be significant – having a father, brother or son who has had testicular cancer can increase the risk of getting the disease.

The common symptoms are:  a lump can be felt in 97% of cases and approximately 86% of these will be painless; an enlargement of the testicle; a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum; a dull ache in the abdomen or groin.  If you do have any of these symptoms, don’t just wait and hope that they disappear - go and get checked out by your doctor. Most lumps are not cancerous but the earlier you find out, the earlier you can get any necessary treatment.

Regular self-examination will help you become more aware of the normal feel and size of your testicles so that any abnormalities can be spotted early on.  It only takes a few minutes to perform and is best performed monthly after you have had a bath or shower when your scrotum will be warm and relaxed.  Support the scrotum in the palm of your hand and become familiar with the size and weight of each testicle. Examine each testicle by rolling it between your fingers and thumb. Gently feel for lumps, swellings, or changes in firmness.  Each testicle has an epididymis that runs behind it which carries sperm to the penis and can often be mistaken for an abnormal lump.  Don’t panic if you feel this – it’s normal.

Fine Fettle will have some leaflets from Orchid the male cancer charity, available from the end of July – pop in and pick one up for yourself or if not for you, for somebody you care about.

98% of testicular cancer cases can be treated if caught earlier enough. So come on boys 'check yourself out'!

Author Rachel Lambert - Osteopath Fine Fettle Multi-healthcare

My partner had testicular cancer at the age of 24 and is proof that there are cases where the disease can be stopped and eradicated when found early.  He had is 50th birthday this year. He has a fantastic scar across his abdomen (after removal of lymph nodes in his abdomen) which he now tells people is a shark bite!!  - Helen Bullen (owner and Osteopath at Fine Fettle)

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