Testicular cancer and prostate cancer
All men can reduce their chances of missing testicular cancer by regularly examining their testicles for any changes such as swelling, lumps, or pain. If you notice anything different, it’s essential to see your GP as soon as possible.
It’s reassuring to know that, if you are diagnosed with testicular cancer, it’s one of the most treatable types of cancer. And if you’re concerned that having a testicle removed (the most common treatment) will affect your fertility or your ability to maintain an erection, you can relax.
Testicular cancer is relatively rare, accounting for around 1% of all cancers that affect men. But it’s the most common cancer affecting men between the ages of 20 and 45. In the UK, some 2,300 men are diagnosed with the condition every year. For more information about testicular cancer, visit this NHS site.
Prostate cancer, on the other hand, is now the most diagnosed cancer – more common than breast cancer. However, Prostate Cancer UK, the charity founded in 1996 by Professor Jonathan Waxman, calculates that as many as 27,000 men may have missed seeing a specialist urologist since March 2020 – the most significant drop in referrals for suspected cancer in years – and so their symptoms remain undiagnosed and any cancer untreated. This might be because many men are anxious about having a diagnosis of prostate cancer, as well as visiting a hospital during high levels of Covid-19.
To help you find out if you’re at risk, Prostate Cancer UK has developed a simple risk checking tool that can help you decide whether you should make an appointment to see your GP. If you do see a GP, they may recommend that you have some initial diagnostic tests such as a PSA blood test, and/or a digital rectal examination (DRE). Both these checks can be done in the doctor’s surgery – they don’t require a hospital visit.
A PSA (or prostate-specific antigen) blood test is a quick and easy way to detect early signs of cancer so you can get treated quickly if necessary. But it isn’t perfect. It can sometimes give a ‘false positive’ reading. In fact, 3 in every 4 men with a raised level of PSA will not have cancer. And it can also miss cancer in some patients. But it is a quick and easy test that can detect early signs of cancer and help more men get treated in good time if additional tests are positive for cancer.