Cancer: The ‘fleeting’ symptom that requires ‘urgent investigation’ – signs to look for
Dr Nighat discusses symptoms of prostate cancer
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Delayed cancer diagnosis could have severe repercussions for survival rates over the next decade. Thankfully, certain forms of the disease, such as testicular cancer, are very survivable. Testicular cancer refers to the proliferation of abnormal cells in one or both testicles – the male sex glands. One fleeting symptom may warrant urgent investigation, according to former NHS worker Michael Carson.
Figures estimate 19,500 people with cancer in England will not be diagnosed due to missed referrals, which could take until 2033 to clear.
But outcomes for cancer patients in the UK already lag behind those of the rest of Europe, with the exception of testicular cancer.
Testicular cancer is the most common cancer among men, typically occurring in men around the age of 28.
The disease is one of the few cancers to flaunt survival rates of 95 percent.
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But raising awareness of the red flag symptoms is necessary to ensure the continuation of good survival rates.
According to Mr Carson, checking for lumps is a good place to start.
“The importance of checking your testicles for lumps cannot be said enough!” explained Mr Carson.
“The most important symptom is a lump that can be felt in the scrotum and is usually painless.”
The first signs of testicular cancer are usually a small hard lump or generalised swelling of the testicles. Although pain may arise, it is less common.
“There can occasionally be some fleeting pain, but generally there is none; just a change in the texture of shape of the testicles and lump that can be felt,” added Carson.
Most lumps on the scrotum tend to be benign, however, experts encourage men to self-check regularly.
When a lump is cancerous, however, it will most likely be curable.
Other symptoms may include a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum, a dull ache in the abdomen or groin, or a sudden collection of fluid in the scrotum.
Most cases of cancer of the testicle occur in younger men under the age of 45 – but those with undescended testicles are most at risk.
Metastasis of cancer remains the main cause of death in cancer patients and the vast majority of people with metastasis can only be treated, not cured.
A 2018 study led by the Institute of Cancer Research found single-letter changes to DNA increased a man’s risk of testicular cancer.
“Scientists have found few risk factors that make someone more likely to develop testicular cancer,” explains the American Cancer Society.
“Most boys and men with testicular cancer don’t have any of the known risk factors.”
Body size, having HIV or an undescended testicle are all risk factors for testicular cancer.
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