The 18-24 age group represent the generation brought up on easy access to endless information; they spend over 27 hours on the web every week1; they're tooled up to tweet, snap, share and post at the click of a button but they are the age group least aware of testicular cancer - despite being in the age group where men are most at risk.
New research, commissioned by the male cancer charity Orchid, reveals that only 25% of young men actually check their testicles on a regular basis, whilst 22% never bother to check at all2. A staggering 78% of 18-24 year olds could also not identify that they were in the age group most at risk of testicular cancer2.
This bleak picture of testicular cancer awareness amongst young men is prompting calls during Male Cancer Awareness Month for young people to get connected with their health and be more cancer aware.
Testicular cancer survivor, Adam Tann, explains: "It hit me when I was 24. I didn't give any thought to testicular cancer as you never think it will affect you. There is so much information out there now and we can and should take our health into our own hands, quite literally".
The Orchid research also reveals that 18-24 year olds have the least awareness amongst all age groups of the signs and symptoms of testicular cancer and how often you should check2. Paradoxically, the over 55s, who are at least risk of developing testicular cancer, are the age group who most regularly check their testicles once a month and possess the greatest knowledge of signs symptoms.
Rebecca Porta, Chief Executive of Orchid, comments: "The results of our research confirm that young people clearly need more education and information on testicular cancer if we are to improve the rate of early detection. Whilst education establishments and social media can play a big role in providing this, there is also a role for parents to talk to their sons and get them more connected with their own health"
Testicular cancer affects over 2,200 men each year and around 60 young men will die of testicular cancer each year. It most commonly affects men between the ages of 15-45 and, if caught at an early stage, men can expect a high cure rate with 98% surviving the disease. Early detection with regular monthly self-checks is therefore recommended.
For further information on testicular cancer, visit www.yourprivates.org.uk
Orchid's Quick Guide To Checking Your Testicles:
- Check the entire surface of each testicle separately, and carefully, using one or both hands
- Roll each testicle between the thumb and forefinger to check that the surface is free of lumps or bumps. Do not squeeze!
- Get to know your balls; their size, texture, anatomy, magnificence. Identify the epididymis or sperm collecting tube, often mistaken for an abnormal lump that runs behind each testicle
- Encourage your partner to have a go as he or she may be more likely to identify a problem in the future and get you to do something about it
If you feel a small pea-sized lump, or any abnormality on the testicle, you should go to your doctor and get it checked at the earliest opportunity.