June 2012

Is it time you got your Juicy Plums and Peachy Bottom checked....?

This June is Everyman Male Cancer Awareness month. This annual event is used to heighten the knowledge and understanding of Testicular Cancer and Prostate Cancer, the most common cancers in the male demographic.

For this year’s campaign Men’s Sexual Health have launched their new poster which compares certain fruit that is going rotten with these two areas of male cancer, encouraging you to get your juicy plums and peachy bottom checked. These posters have been distributed to every doctors surgery in Swindon and other public venues. And the Men’s Sexual Health team will be visiting certain community areas promoting the campaign, where they have both medical recreations of self checking testicals and the prostate gland, along with a variety of leaflets on all forms of cancer, and a chance to ask questions, so keep an eye on their facebook and twitter pages to see where they will be during this month.

The three biggest issues around these male cancers remain:

  • men's lack of knowledge on the subject,
  • men don't like to admit when there is something wrong with them and
  • men don't like to discuss their intimate anatomy with others.

It is these reasons why Men's Sexual Health has decided to promote this issue again this year using a different campaign poster because it’s such important cause. We need to inform men of the risks, how to check themselves and to be comfortable to talk to their GP.

Testicular Cancer

Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in the 15 – 44 age group. A 2006 survey conducted by Everyman, a campaign directed at men by the Institute of Cancer Research, revealed that only 28% of men check their testicles regularly for signs of testicular cancer. Though it is still quite rare, early detection is the key to saving lives. There are 2,000 cases a year in the UK. With treatment Testicular cancer is 97 – 99% curable, if caught in the early stages. However, it still causes approximately 70 deaths per year.

The early signs of testicular cancer are usually obvious and easy to spot, regularly checking and self examination will help identify the normal feel and size of the testicles, making it easier to identify signs that don't seem or feel right.

Look out for one or more of the following:

  • A hard lump on the front or side of the testicle
  • Swelling or enlargement of a testicle
  • An increase in firmness of a testicle
  • Pain or discomfort in a testicle or in the scrotum
  • An unusual difference between one testicle and the other
  • A heavy feeling in the scrotum
  • A dull ache in the lower stomach, groin or scrotum
  • Passing blood in urine – occasionally accompanied by backache

These symptoms do not necessarily indicate testicular cancer – they may be caused by a curable infection. If you identify anything that is different or changed, or if you suffer any of these symptoms consult your local GUM clinic or GP – remember, while most lumps are not cancerous, the earlier a diagnosis is made, the earlier treatment can commence.

How to self-examine: Everyone is different, so if you're going to pick up any changes, you need to know what's normal for you. It is advised from the time of puberty onwards you should do a regular self-check (at least once a month), the best time to do this is in the shower or bath, or soon afterwards when the skin of the scrotum is relaxed.

  • Hold your scrotum in the palm of your hand and feel the size and weight of the testicles, it is common to have one testicle slightly larger than the other one, or one that hangs lower.
  • Feel each testicle and roll it between your thumb and finger, it should feel smooth. You'll feel a soft, tender tube towards the back of the testicle, this is normal and is called the Epididymis.
  • Look and feel for any lumps, bumps or swelling. In a routine of checking you will be able to identify what is normal for you.
  • It is unusual to develop cancer in both testicles at the same time, so if you are wondering whether a testicle is feeling normal or not you can compare it with the other.

If you notice anything unusual about your testicles you should go and see a doctor as soon as possible. Act now, don't wait a week or two. Any changes may have other causes, but you should always be checked out.

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer has overtaken lung cancer to be the most common cancer in men. During our last campaign we were reporting 36,000 diagnosed cases per year, this has now increased to 41,000 in the UK , resulting in 10,000 deaths. That's one man every hour.  They believe the reason for this increase is due to a higher number of cases being diagnosed (through the greater use of PSA tests) and the influence of an ageing population. The majority of men with prostate cancer are aged over 60 years. Although this cancer can also occur in younger individuals, it is very rare under the age of 50.

The prostate is a small gland about the size and shape of a walnut. It lies below the bladder and surrounds the upper part of the urethra – the tube that carries urine and semen out through the penis. The prostate gland produces a thick clear fluid that mixes with sperm to form semen.

As a man gets older, his prostate may get bigger and restrict the flow of urine. This very common condition is called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). It is not cancer but causes some of the same symptoms as prostate cancer.

The following symptoms may be caused by problems that are much less serious than prostate cancer, try not to worry if you develop any of them, but do get them checked out.

  • Difficulty or pain in passing urine
  • Having to rush to the toilet to pass urine
  • Frequent visits to the toilet, especially at night
  • Starting and stopping while urinating
  • Dribbling urine
  • A feeling of not having emptied the bladder fully
  • Blood in the urine or semen
  • Impotence
  • Pain in back, hips or pelvis

Unlike testicular cancer where you can do a self examination, we would advice you that if you have any concerns to visit your GP where he will discuss your symptoms and will then decided if you need to be tested.

For further information on testicular and prostate cancer visit the Everyman Male Cancer website.

If you have any questions or concerns please get in touch with us 01793 250951, or If you would like a copy of our campaign poster please email us at