Hey, gang. Serious question: How are your balls doing?
Testicular self-checks can be a mysterious thing. They're just balls, right? Why bother?
BuzzFeed Life spoke to Dr. James McKiernan, urologist-in-chief at New York–Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, and Dr. Brad Leibovich, the chair of urology at the Mayo Clinic, to figure out the whys and hows of carpe-ing your testes.
1. Men in their twenties and early thirties — aka men who least expect it — are more likely to get testicular cancer than men of other age groups.
2. More specifically, white men tend to be diagnosed more often.
3. There are a few risk factors that result in testicular cancer, but none that are within your control.
4. In the rare event that it does occur, testicular cancer can sneak up on you without any warning.
5. Testicular cancer treatment can have some shitty side effects on the rest of your body.
6. Not to mention your self-esteem.
7. All in all, catching testicular cancer early can save you loads of time, money, and anxiety in the long run.
8. So how DO you check yourself for testicular cancer?
Here's Dr. McKiernan's advice on how you can check your balls for lumps:
Each testicle is shaped like an egg. If you were to hold a hard-boiled egg in your hand, that's what your testicle roughly looks like. There are variations on shape and size, but it's an elliptical spherical object that sits inside the scrotum. The scrotum, which is the skin of the sac, has no issues; there's no cancer of the scrotum. It's the egg, if you will, inside that sac.
What you wanna do is feel all surfaces of that egg. The testicle itself will feel like that hard-boiled egg; it has a certain rubbery consistency to it. What you're feeling for is an area on the egg that feels like somebody left the shell on.
Imagine: someone gives you a hard-boiled egg and half the shell was still on it. If you closed your eyes, you could find that half of the egg and say, "Yeah, there it is. There's a hard spot." So that's what a tumor feels like — a dense hard spot that doesn't give when you squeeze it.
9. Your first self-check is a getting-to-know-you stage.
10. But don't check yourself TOO often! Once a month is enough.
11. When you do discover something unusual, don't hesitate to go to the doctor.
12. Remember: Before you lose your balls, have the balls to go to the doctor!
So grab your balls by the balls! Schedule a physical check-up with your doctor and get to know what's normal for you.
Carpe testes, gang.