It's a tough topic — one that makes grown men wince and cross their legs — but testicular cancer isn't something to ignore. It's a cancer that effects men in the prime of their lives. The most common ages that men develop testicular cancer is between 18 and 35, but if dealt with early, the outcome is very optimistic.
It's one of the highest survival rates of all the cancers simply because testicular cancer, like breast cancer, can be removed completely and if you catch it early enough, you won't need any further treatment.
In an informative video by the British Medical Journal published on Guardian.co.uk, Colin Osborne, an avid golfer, father and husband tells of how he discovered a small lump the size of a small pea on one of his testes.
The toughest part for him was knowing that his GP would need to examine a rather intimate area. "Men don't like getting their bits out," he explains.
Your own exam
It's an interesting point he makes. Women are taught from a young age that it's necessary to visit the gynaecologist to maintain their sexual health, but this is not the case with men. Says Osborne's wife, "Men need to be the same now about themselves."
After all, men always have their hands in their pockets anyway.
Jokes aside, it's important that you know what your testes feel like so that you can identify any suspicious lumps as soon as they begin to develop.
Men need to perform a monthly self-examination of their testes just as women are encouraged to examine their breasts. The Cancer Association of South Africa (Cansa) advises that men between the ages of 15 and 40 perform monthly self-examinations after a bath or shower to feel for any foreign pea sized lumps.
Men can often mistake the epididymus — the tube at the back of the testicle responsible for the collection, storing and carrying of sperm — for a lump.
Research from the UK suggests that more men than women are likely to develop cancer because of unhealthy lifestyles and more men are likely to die from cancer because they tend to put off treatment for longer.
Sadly, the cancer had spread from Osborne's testicle to other parts of the body. He was required to have secondary treatment which he describes as being less than pleasant. "Even though I left the cancer so long, I am extremely lucky to be here, I know that."
Oncologist, Dr Tom Powels, is also interviewed in the video and tells us that testicular cancer patients still have a good chance of recovering from secondary cancers.
So long, old pal
Yet it is still important to catch and treat the tumour as early as possible. Powels explains that though this cancer does effect men in the prime of their lives, the vast majority of men with testicular cancer are cured simply by removing the testes effected.
Understandably, removing a testicle is a rather sensitive subject for many men and the question of fertility is a natural one to ask.
Roger Bishton, a young British man, was one such man to have his testicle removed. "It makes you wince, makes you cross your legs, whatever it is, but I guess, we're all aware of cancer enough nowadays to know that the alternative of leaving it is not really an option," he explains.
Click to page two to learn how Roger Bishton dealth with testicular cancer.