Regular testicular examinations could head off long term problems
When was the last time you examined yourself?
1. Slowly roll each testicle between the thumb and fingers, applying slight pressure. Check for hard, painless lumps.
2. Examine your epididymis for lumps. This is the crescent-shaped cord behind each testicle. It may be tender to the touch.
3. Examine the vas (the sperm carrying tube that runs up the epididymis). The vas normally feels like a firm, movable, smooth tube.
Repeat these steps on both testicles.
If it’s been while, you might be surprised to know that regular testicular exams could save you complications in the long run.
“Testicular cancer is the most common cancer among men aged 15 to 34,” states the Planned Parenthood ‘men’s health’ section of their Web site.
And according to the American Cancer Society’s Web site, 45.8 percent of men aged 20 to 34 has been diagnosed with testicular cancer. That means you, Joe College, could be at risk if you aren’t checking yourself out from time to time.
Most of the male students asked didn’t really think there was a need to be worried about testicular cancer; rather, self-examinations were meant as practice for later on in life.
“I don’t do it (examine my testicles) very much, and I don’t know anybody who really has it (testicular cancer) personally. I do it for when I’m older,” said Neal Wright, a junior English major.
While still many others who did examine themselves said the thought of someone else doing it would be uncomfortable.
“I learned how to (examine my testicles) after my first physical, it’s just weird having someone else do it for you,” said Jonathan Owens, 21, resident of Boulder.
However, each of them said that they would immediately contact a doctor if they felt a lump.
Testicular cancer is a very treatable and usually curable form of cancer, according to the American Cancer Society’s Web site.
“I think a lot of young men are not sure of what is normal versus not normal (lumps). I have hundreds of young men coming in with benign lesions, most of which are spermatoceles, (caused when sperm is not released correctly from the vas).” said Dr. Tom Kunstman, coordinator for men’s health at Wardenburg.
Kunstman stressed that even the slightest concern is a good reason to come in.
“I’d rather they come in than not acknowledging they have a potential problem, Kunstman said.
According to Planned Parenthood, the symptoms of testicular cancer include:
– Lump on testicle, epididymis, or vas.
– Enlargement of testicle.
– Heavy sensation in the groin area or testicles.
– Dull ache in the groin or abdomen area.
Education is something Wardenburg is willing to pass on, and one issue regarding men’s self examination could be that they just aren’t sure how to examine themselves.
“It’s not very hard to do,” Kunstman said.
Wardenburg offers a “Men’s Health Visit,” which not only does a full testicular examination, (they can show you how),but it also includes testing for STIs. Individuals who are experiencing other issues such as erectile dysfunction are also encouraged to visit a doctor for proper treatment.
Patients don’t even need to tell the nurse why you’re calling – all they need to say is ‘I would like to schedule a men’s health visit.’
Opinions between Wardenburg and the American Cancer Society differ over whether checking your testicles should be a daily or monthly activity. However, Kunstman said that making an appointment for an examination every two to three years wouldn’t be a bad idea and the examination is covered under CU’s insurance as well as private insurance companies.