- Dr Vivek Wadhwa, a urological surgeon, said morning is not always best
- Men should check their testicles once every month, he recommended
- READ MORE: Failing to check your testicles could lead to deadly cannonball lung
A urologist has explained the best time of day for men to check their testicles for signs of cancer.
Testicular cancer is the leading cause of a condition doctors called ‘cannonball lung’ – where the disease spreads to the lungs and forms a splattering of rapidly-multiplying tumors.
A simple, 10-second self-exam could make the difference between life and aggressive cancer leading to cannonball-shaped tumors in the lungs.
Dr Vivek Wadhwa, a consultant urological surgeon at Spire Little Aston Hospital in the UK, said the best time to check your testicles is after a warm shower or bath.
This is because the heat will relax the scrotum and muscles holding the testicles, making it easier to feel any changes.
Men should start with one side, and gently roll the scrotum with their fingers to feel the surface of the testicle. They should check for any lumps, bumps or unusual features.
Dr Vivek Wadhwa, a consultant urological surgeon at Spire Little Aston Hospital in the UK, said the best time to check your testicles is after a warm shower or bath
Dr Wadhwa warned that it is possible to have testicular cancer without a lump, and the testicle may look swollen and larger than usual instead.
‘Most men naturally have one testicle that is slightly larger than the other, so it is important to look for a change in the size of your testicle from what is normal for you,’ he said.
Men should check their testicles once every month.
The odds of survival worsen from about 96 percent when spotted early to as low as 73 percent once the cancer has spread beyond the testicles to the lungs.
Florida-based emergency department physician Dr Sam Ghali took to Twitter to warn people of the deadly risk, after seeing the scenario in a young patient.
In a voice recording posted to the social media site, he told of a man in his 20s who went to the hospital for a persistent cough – and was found to have advanced-stage testicular cancer that had spread to his lungs.
Multiple growths appeared as cloudy blobs on the chest X-ray – a classic case of ‘cannonball metastases’, Dr Ghali said.
If caught early, such as through a self-exam, testicular cancer is largely treatable.
A near-perfect 99 percent of testicular cancer patients who catch it before it spreads throughout the body will survive it. That rate falls slightly to 96 percent when the cancer spreads to the lymph nodes in the back of the abdomen.
But if the cancer goes untreated and is able to spread further, it often ends up in the lungs.
There are no hard figures to quantify exactly how many men with testicular cancer go on to develop cannonball-shaped nodules in their lungs.
Whether a cancer will spread to the lungs or other organs depends on the individual patient’s physiology. A subtype of testicular cancer called non-seminomas have a higher likelihood of metastasizing compared to seminomas which tend to grow and spread more slowly.
The cannonball-like lesions can also result from other types of cancers, including kidney, breast, and colon.
Dr Ghali told his 472,000 Twitter followers: ‘Right off the bat, we notice these large, very well-circumscribed, rounded lesions’ in both lungs.
‘There are so many that you can’t even count them all. That is the classic appearance of what’s known as cannonball metastases.’
Testicular cancers are relatively uncommon – approximately 0.4 percent of men will be diagnosed with the condition at some point during their lifetime.
However, it is the most common cancer in men aged 15 to 44 years old.