Young men in Britain are unaware of the risk of testicular cancer and rarely check for signs of the disease, according to a survey released on Monday.
Nearly three quarters of the men questioned in the poll for the Macmillan Cancer Relief charity recognized at least one early sign of the illness but only a quarter examined themselves. “These figures are extremely worrying since young men are most at risk of testicular cancer,” said Peter Cardy, chief executive of the charity. The poll of 842 men between 16 and 24 years old also showed young single men were the least concerned about the illness and less likely than married men to spot signs of the cancer, such as a painless lump, swelling or pain in the testicle. “I know us blokes are notoriously bad at thinking about our health until it’s too late. As testicular cancer is treatable if caught early, we’re urging all men, particularly younger men, to be aware of the symptoms and to check themselves at least once a month,” said Cardy. “They should, quite literally, take their health in their hands!” Testicular cancer affects about 1 in 500 men and is most common in 15 to 44 year olds. The number of cases has doubled in the last 25 years to about 2,000 cases a year. If the disease is detected and treated early the survival rate is very good. Five-times Tour de France cycling champion Lance Armstrong returned to competition in 1998 after successful treatment for the illness. Familial testicular cancer accounts for an estimated 20 percent of cases. Other risk factors include infertility and malformed or undescended testicles. There is also a higher incidence among first-born sons and non-identical twins.(Source: Macmillan Cancer Relief: Reuters Health News: May 2004)