November 06, 2023

Testicular cancer is another disease our Kiwi blokes have to be aware of but fortunately it’s less common than many of the cancers that affect men.

According to Testicular Cancer NZ, every year in New Zealand, on average, 170 men are diagnosed with testicular cancer and eight die.

It’s the most commonly diagnosed cancer in New Zealand teens and young men, typically occurring between the ages of 15 and 44, but it can occur at any age.

Famous survivors include cyclist Lance Armstrong, former All Black and Chiefs rugby player Aaron Cruden and Supercars driver Thomas Randle.

Testicular cancer occurs when abnormal cells develop in the testes. Usually only one testicle is affected, but sometimes both are.

Risk factors

While the definite causes are still unknown, these are some of the risk factors:

  • An undescended testicle as an infant
  • Family history of testicular cancer
  • Abnormal testicular development

There is no known link between testicular cancer and injury to the testicles, hot baths, wearing tight clothing or sporting strains.

What to watch out for

The most common is a painless swelling or lump in the testicle. Other less common symptoms include:

  • Any enlargement of a testicle
  • A significant shrinking of a testicle
  • A change in the consistency of a testicle (hardness)
  • A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
  • A dull ache in the lower abdomen or in the groin
  • A sudden collection of fluid in the scrotum
  • Pain or discomfort in a testicle or in the scrotum
  • Enlargement or tenderness of the breast area

These symptoms can be caused by other health conditions so it’s important to see a doctor straight away. It may not be cancer but needs to be checked out. Do not wait!

Can it be prevented?
Testicular cancer cannot be prevented. But you can increase the chances of beating it if it’s detected early as it’s highly treatable.

Testicular Cancer NZ recommends men examine their testicles once a month to check for changes or lumps that may be an indicator of an issue.

They even have an easy-to-follow video guide to “checking your balls in no time at all.” Have a look here or send it to the men you love – it may save their life.

Te Atatu Toasted is supporting men’s health as part of the Movember movement. This article is part of our men’s health series.