Men can benefit greatly by being alert to certain cancer symptoms. The only requirement? A trip to the doctor’s office. Gulp.

When it comes to scheduling doctor visits, men are notorious foot-draggers. In fact, some men would never go to the doctor if it weren’t for the women in their lives.

Linda Greeff, founder of People Living with Cancer and Cancer Buddies, comments “men often need to get screened for cancer. Fear often also plays a role in seeking medical advice, which is unfortunate. Routine preventive care can diagnose cancer and other diseases in their early stages. When cancer is found early, there are more options for treatment. That means there are also better chances for a cure.”

Some cancer symptoms in men are specific. They involve certain body parts and may point directly to the possibility of cancer. Other symptoms are, however, vague. For instance, pain that affects many body parts could have many explanations. It may or may not be a sign of cancer. But you can’t rule out cancer without seeing a doctor.

The testicles produce male sex hormones and sperm for reproduction. The first sign of testicular cancer is often enlargement of the testicle or a small lump or area of hardness on the testicle, which can be either painless or painful. Other symptoms may go unnoticed until the cancer is advanced and has spread to other parts of the body.

Regular testicular self-examinations and examinations by doctors can help detect cancer at an early stage, when it is more likely to be successfully treated.

Symptoms of testicular cancer may include:
· A lump on a testicle
· Scrotum that seems swollen or bigger than usual
· Dull pain or ache in the testicle
· Dull ache or heaviness in the lower part of the abdomen
· Symptoms are often present in one testicle only.

Most often, testicular cancer can be detected at an early stage, and men often find the cancer themselves while performing self-examinations. Some doctors recommend that men ages 15 to 55 perform a monthly self-examination to identify any changes. Men who notice a lump, hardness, enlargement, pain, or any other change in one or both of their testicles should visit their doctor immediately.

Should you, a friend or a family member be diagnosed with cancer and would like more information on People Living with Cancer and Cancer Buddies please contact 0800 033 337

A Cancer Buddies branch has been established in Pretoria, Gauteng and they can be contacted directly on (012) 807-2744.