Be ballsy and get checked for prostate and testicular cancer
By doing the #FafChallenge during November and going for a screening for testicular cancer, our Springbok Rugby World Cup Champions are highlighting how important it is for men of all ages to go for regular health check-ups.
Movember is observed annually as part of the international campaign to build awareness about men’s health issues such as prostate cancer and testicular cancer. The Western Cape Government Health urges men, particularly those who are over 40 years old, to go for a check-up at least once a year.
Prostate and testicular cancers, especially when not detected early, can lead to difficult treatment, sterility, and potentially a lifetime of hormone replacement therapy. It is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in South African men. This form of cancer is life threatening if left untreated.
Symptoms of prostate cancer include:
- A need to urinate frequently, especially at night
- Difficulty starting urination or holding back urine
- Weak or interrupted flow of urine
- Painful or burning urination
- Difficulty in having an erection
- Painful ejaculation
- Blood in urine or semen
- Frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs
Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men aged 15 to 35 years old. It starts as an abnormal growth or tumour that develops in one or both testicles. There are several types of testicular cancer, but the most common is the germ cell tumour.
Symptoms of testicular cancer include:
- A lump or swelling in the testicle
- An increase in the firmness of a testicle
- A difference between one testicle and the other
- A dull ache or sharp pain in your testicles or scrotum, which may come and go
- A feeling of heaviness in your scrotum
Here's how to perform a self-exam:
- Set aside five minutes while you're in the shower. A warm shower will relax the scrotum and the muscles holding the testicles, making an exam easier.
- Starting with one side, gently roll the scrotum with your fingers to feel the surface of the testicle.
- Check for any lumps, bumps or unusual features. Contrary to what many assume, cancerous tumours typically aren't painful.
- Make note of any changes in size over time. While the most common symptom of testicular cancer is a painless mass, some men experience swelling of the testicles and scrotum.
- Be aware of any dull soreness or heaviness.
- Switch sides and check the other testicle.
If you notice a lump or any changes as mentioned above, you should seek medical advice and schedule an appointment immediately. Remember testicular cancer can spread very quickly and if detected early is one of the most curable cancers.
Making daily healthy choices will improve your health and quality of life. Start taking care of your health by going for testing and screenings at your local health facility.