A-Z

Testicular Cancer

Messages to others about testicular cancer

The men had many messages for others. A key message was aimed at men who dislike going to the doctor or feel too embarrassed to seek help. Many men pointed out that testicular cancer is highly curable, especially if caught in good time, and that men shouldn't be anxious about treatments, which are much better than they were in the past.

 

Points out that testicular cancer is highly curable and urges men to seek help quickly.

Points out that testicular cancer is highly curable and urges men to seek help quickly.

Age at interview: 33
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 26
SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
So what would be your message to young men now?

They just be aware that testicular cancer is out there and it might only be 1,700 cases last year and 86 men died, but there is a good chance of cure, a 98% chance of cure. If they catch it early enough, report it early enough, and get treated early enough, then 6 months down the line they'll be feeling as fit and healthy as they ever did. And there's no problem with one testicle or two testicles you're still the same person, everything still works and just not to be afraid or frightened of what's coming up. The longer you leave it the worst it can be.
 

A man who delayed seeking help because he thought he had an infection, suggested that he might have had shorter treatment if he had gone to the doctor a bit quicker and he concluded, “If you spot anything at any time, any questions, any doubt, go and get it checked out”.

Many men suggested that it is a good idea to 'know' your own body, and to check your testicles regularly for any unusual swelling, lumps or bumps. Some explained how to do this, and suggested that this is best done in the bath or shower (also see 'Signs and symptoms'). Men were urged to be confident in their ability to know when something is wrong, and to tell their GP.

 

Stresses that men should get to 'know' their own bodies, check themselves regularly and go to the...

Stresses that men should get to 'know' their own bodies, check themselves regularly and go to the...

Age at interview: 28
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 27
SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
But to be honest with you, a message to other men is you know your own body, the doctor can feel you but he doesn't know your own body. You can feel perhaps a bit of pain, you can feel yourself what it's like because you've been doing it, if you're checking yourself regularly and you're doing it every day, if a lump does appear you know it's going to be different. 

And the main message really is to men is you know, if you're in the bath it takes you 2 minutes to check yourself if you don't want to do it yourself get the other half to do it, make it perhaps a little bit more enjoyable (laughs). But, and if, you know if you're regularly checking yourself, perhaps every day, and then if you do come across something that is slightly different you'll know then because you've been checking yourself before and you feel something is slightly odd, go straight to the GP, and to be honest with you now always ask for a referral if you're not happy with the GP's explanation to see a specialist.
 
 

Explains how to conduct testicular self-examination.

Explains how to conduct testicular self-examination.

Age at interview: 36
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 29
SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
Well basically the way to examine yourself is the best time to do is when you've had a shower or a bath because the scrotum, the skin is loose, so the testicles hang down. And if you just rub them lightly between your fingers you can obviously feel through the skin to the testicle and it should be smooth. Round the back is the epididymis I think it's called (laughs) er and that is like, it's kind of like a tube affair. That is normal, if you feel that that is what that is. But a cancerous lump if you find one, is usually on the side or the front of the testicle. It can be on the back but it usually the side or the front apparently and it will feel like a raised area on the testicle itself. It will feel hard as well, it won't have the same sort of give as the testicle will have. And in my case it felt like a walnut shell, bumpy and rough, and if you feel anything like that you need to see a GP and get it examined and get an opinion on that.

Some men stressed that if people with symptoms are not happy with their GP's diagnosis they should return to the GP again or seek a second opinion from a consultant. One pointed out that GPs can't know everything.

 

Urges men to seek help and to have the courage of their convictions if they suspect that...

Urges men to seek help and to have the courage of their convictions if they suspect that...

Age at interview: 48
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 34
SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
Yeah if there's a lump there it doesn't really matter what is causing that lump, it shouldn't be there and you need to get it sorted it out. Don't take no for an answer and have the courage of your convictions because you are more in tune with your body than you realise and you will instinctively know if you need to get something done about it. I would say that everything I've gone through subsequently, yes they found that it was testicular cancer, and they found that it was a seminoma which required radiotherapy and not a teratoma which required chemotherapy. Treatments have changed and the way that people are being treated these days is sometimes a lot more, a lot less intrusive than other treatments have been in the past so I would not be afraid of that at all. And I would say please, just go, check it out, and then have it seen to if it needs to be seen to because you do need to have it seen to because if you let it go the that's when it starts to get more dangerous.
 
 

Tells men to return to the doctor if they are not satisfied with the diagnosis.

Tells men to return to the doctor if they are not satisfied with the diagnosis.

Age at interview: 35
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 30
SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
But the main thing is that if you are worried then you know go see somebody. And not only that if you're not happy then go see them again, don't put off by being told that there's, that the dull ache is you know, "Here's some antibiotics." Because I've found that doctors know less than, or GPs should I say have learned from me because I've been able to tell them the sorts of ailments that I started with and they've been quite you know willing to listen and learn as well you know they can't know everything. So yeah, don't be put off by three courses of antibiotics, if you're not happy then, you know, keep going back.

Many men urged others to seek information. One man suggested that men newly diagnosed with testicular cancer might find it helpful to read other people's accounts of cancer and other illnesses, and another, who is a doctor, pointed out that many other diseases are far worse than testicular cancer.

 

Arthur Frank suggests that men may find it helpful to talk to someone who's survived testicular...

Arthur Frank suggests that men may find it helpful to talk to someone who's survived testicular...

Age at interview: 55
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 40
SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
Arthur Frank' I think the really important message is that you're entering this tunnel where very often you really can't see the light at the end of the tunnel, when you're in it, and it's important to talk to people who've survived it.

I mean I think the thing I was trying to think of before that's important is we did go, we didn't have any fertility problems at all, and we conceived this perfectly lovely daughter. And I think the thing I'd really like to end on would be the birth of our daughter because there's something about that affirmation of life that's just so extraordinary after you've nearly died, that that was, it made that experience so incredibly richer than it ever could have been. 

But I've been very lucky, so if you're lucky enough to be as lucky as I've been, as aggressive as the treatment has been, as terrible as the whole idea of a testicle on your tumour (laughs) a tumour on your testicle can be, and to say, it's important to hold onto the fact that this will years later seem like a fairly short period of time.
 
 

Suggests that there are other illnesses that are much worse than testicular cancer.

Text only
Read below

Suggests that there are other illnesses that are much worse than testicular cancer.

Age at interview: 46
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 42
HIDE TEXT
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
But I think most importantly for people with the condition, the word cancer is very frightening, and in this case I think unjustly so. I think it probably feels more of a shock than it needs to be, because in my experience as a doctor I've come across vast numbers of people who have conditions which on paper look less, look less intimidating but in reality are very, very much more limiting and much more damaging to one's quality of life. And I mentioned earlier people with chronic back pain and people with depressive illness or people with inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, I mean one can think of many conditions which have much more impact on one's quality of life. So you know certainly I would urge people to think positively about the condition and not to be unduly phased by the diagnosis.

One man suggested that men with testicular cancer should ask questions, even if hospital doctors and nurses appear busy. He also said that that people shouldn't be afraid to demand the treatment that they are entitled to receive.

Many men stressed the importance of thinking positively, having a laugh with friends, sharing problems, and keeping things in perspective. One man said that he found it helpful to visit the pub, and he said that he kept his mind off his problems by reading, going to the cinema, and making sure he had a good looking girlfriend. (See 'Support and counselling' and 'Attitude to life').

 

Suggests that it is important to find somebody with whom to share problems and that men should...

Suggests that it is important to find somebody with whom to share problems and that men should...

Age at interview: 50
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 33
SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
Don't despair, keep, keep cheerful if you can, look on the bright side because there are more 'brighter sides' than 'down sides' and just find a buddy, just find somebody that you can talk to. Tell them "Oh I hate this smell that's coming through these pores," [due to the chemotherapy] or "Don't give me a beer in a can, pour it into a glass," [because of the taste of the metal], silly little things, but laugh about them. Tell other people how you feel, share it and if you share it, it halves what you're going through and it isn't that bad. And life afterwards, you will pick up exactly where you left off.

One man asserted that losing a testicle doesn't make much difference to cosmetic appearance (see 'False testicles'), and urged men to think positively.

Last reviewed December 2017.

donate
Previous Page
Next Page