How to perform a self-examination in six easy steps.

The good news

Testicular cancer is a generally rare disease. According to the SA Cancer Registry, the lifetime risk of testicular cancer is 1:1 736. Testicular cancer is curable in its early stages, and is treatable at a late stage.

Risk factors

It’s the most common cancer for men from ages 15 to 35, but can happen to any male, anytime. According to CANSA, it’s more common in men who had undescended testis as a child. Having a vasectomy does not increase the risk.

Warning signs

The symptoms, cited by CANSA, can be a feeling of heaviness, a dull ache in the groin, abdomen or lower back. Indicators may also include enlargement or tenderness in the breasts due to hormonal changes. 

Gently does it

Self-examination should involve palpating one testicle at a time with both hands, says Dr Eppel. Gently feel each testicle for its normal contour and consistency. It should feel egg-shaped, smooth, even and symmetrical.

Don’t be paranoid

“Be aware of normal anatomy,” says Eppel. Adjacent to the testicle is the epididymis, a soft, worm-like structure that connects the vas deferens in which the sperm travels to the prostate. Don’t confuse this with a lump.

Know what to look for

Cancerous growths are hard and prominent, like a small stone. Eppel says that these growths will feel painless. Should you find anything out of the ordinary, you should visit a reputable GP or urologist.