How to check your balls
We all know that we should check our balls regularly and these days I think a lot of people do, I certainly do. To be honest it's pretty easy to do and it's not as if we don't spend at least some time with our hands down our trousers anyway. But still, it's always worth a quick re-cap as well as some insight as to what happens if you do find something concerning, as catching something untoward as early as possible is vital to a positive outcome.
It’s easy to assume the worst when you discover a lump but it's important to remember that there are many reasons your balls might feel different from normal and it's probably not cancer.
Testicular cancer is one of the less common cancers, accounting for just 1% of the cancers that occur in men. It mostly affects men between 15-49 and there are a few different types. The most common, by far, is germ cell cancer which makes up around 95% of all testicular cancer cases.
The good news is that it is one of the most treatable cancers there is with one of the best outlooks for all types of cancers.
How to check?
Checking regularly means you will notice when something is not right, you need to know what your baseline is to know when something has changed.
The best time to check is either during or just after a warm shower or bath, standing up, as this is when your balls will be at their most accessible. It’s important to feel all around each of the balls because lumps can pop up in any part.
Everyone’s balls are different and although they should be roughly the same size and weight, it’s not uncommon for one to be larger than the other and hang lower. To gauge weight, cup your balls in your hand and move up and down.
What should you look out for?
Lumps, redness, swelling, tenderness, hardening and general pain are all things to watch out for but the main things are lumps and if one ball has become a lot bigger than the other. If you experience any of these symptoms however, go and see a doctor.
What happens next?
If you find something unusual then its important to go to the doctor as soon as possible to get it checked out. Your doctor should examine you and will ask you questions like, ‘has there been any blood in your urine or seamen’.
After examining you, if your doctor thinks that there is cause for further investigation then they will send you for an ultrasound. This is exactly the same as they do for pregnant ladies so get ready for some gel type stuff to be applied, and for somebody to run the thing that looks like a barcode scanner around your balls.
The results of this ultrasound will be assessed by the person doing the ultrasound and the results will be sent back to your GP who may send them to a specialist if they think it is necessary.
It goes without saying that it’s really important to keep to any appointments.
There are loads of reasons why your balls might feel different than usual and it makes sense to get them checked out and get rid of the nagging thought that you have that it could turn out to be something serious.