- Age. Most common in men 15 to 35, but can strike any man at any age.
- Undescended testicle(s), even if they were brought to normalposition as a child.
- Family history of testicular cancer.
- Being Caucasian. White men are slightly more likely to develop testicular cancer than Hispanics, twice as likely as Asian-Americans, and five to ten times more likely than African- Americans.
- Diet. Several recent studies have found that eating a lot of cheese and other dairy products increases the risk of developing testicular cancer. Luncheon meats and a high-red-meat/low-fruit diet also increases the risk.
The best way to identify symptoms is to do a simple, three-minute self-exam once a month beginning on your 15th birthday. Here's how to do the exam:
- Get into the shower or a warm bath. Heat causes the scrotum skin to relax, making the exam easier.
- Soap up. Fingers glide over soapy skin, making it easier to concentrate on the texture underneath.
- Using both hands, slowly roll each testicle between the thumb and fingers, applying slight pressure. It's completely normal to find that one testicle may be slightly larger.
- Try to find hard, pea-sized, painless bumps in the testicles ("balls") themselves.
- Ignore the epididymis. The epididymis is a cord-like structure on the top and back of the testicle that stores and transports the sperm.
- See your doctor promptly if you feel or see anything suspicious. Also tell your doctor if you experience any pain or a heavy feeling in either testicle.