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Have the balls to speak to your doctor

February 19th, 2005

Dr Petra

Research just published from the International Journal of Cancer (reported in this week’s British Medical Journal) has shown in a study across 21 countries the levels of testicular cancer has increased by 60% over the past 25 years. Scientists are now trying to find out why this increase has happened and how to deal with it.

Higher rates were observed within European countries. However, within the developing world, the impact of cancers could be more devastating due to inequalities in the availability of health care.

The UK media could better handle the issue of testicular cancer. Although men are being told by countless campaigns to routinely check their balls for lumps or bumps, what they should do after this, isn’t made clear.

Many men aren’t keen on going to the doc. They still have that ‘stiff upper lip’ idea of masculinity where they feel they shouldn’t make a fuss, or if they ignore something it’ll go away. And although checking their chuds isn’t too much of a problem, men are hamstrung if they do find a lump or change in their balls, taking months to get to the docs and putting their health at risk.

With this new evidence we need to take men’s health seriously. We need an holistic model that teaches men about healthy living, diet, exercise and confidence so instead of just checking for lumps, if they find any changes in their balls that worry them, they go to the docs straight away.

Most men’s media ignores this issue by either giving men pin ups, autopsy pictures and sports news; or unfairly blaming women having access to health care as denying men services; or repeating outdated advice on ‘just check’ without the follow up confidence tips on how to get to the doc and talk to them about your worries.

If you’re a guy who’s worried, or a partner, parent or friend of someone who’s concerned about their balls (or other body part), then the trick is to make an appointment with your GP straight away.

They’ll want to take a brief history, and will check over your balls. They do this all the time – it doesn’t bother them, so try not to let it bother you. If there’s a problem, the quicker you go, the quicker you can be treated. And if there’s nothing wrong, your mind will have been set at ease.

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