According to the National Institutes of Health, testicular cancer is the most common form of cancer in men between the ages of 15 and 35. But now for the good news: The organization also reports that if it's caught early enough, seminoma (the least aggressive kind) has a greater than 95 percent survival rate. That's why it's critical for men to be alert to the signs of testicular cancer during this phase of their lives. According to the Mayo Clinic, signs include the following:
- A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
- A dull ache that's centered in the abdomen or groin
- Pain in either testicle or the scrotum
- Breast enlargement or tenderness
- An overall feeling of fatigue
Another key symptom is a testicular lump or enlargement, which can often be detected during a self-exam. This is best carried out in a hot shower when the scrotum is relaxed. By rolling each testicle gently between the fingertips, men can note any changes in the anatomy. Swelling or a lump about the size of a pea might indicate an issue and should trigger a visit to the doctor. Be aware that the testicles also have blood vessels and other tubes attached to them, so they won't be perfectly round. That's why it's best to become familiar with the terrain so you can note any changes that do emerge.
The exam is recommended monthly until age 35, or longer if there's a family history of the disease [source: Medline Plus].