Men’s health awareness month: Get to know your nuts

Did you know that men will die on average 4.5 years earlier than women for largely preventable reasons? 

That’s why, we want to highlight - and hopefully prevent - a disease that affects one in every 215 men. Testicular cancer.

We want to make sure you know exactly how to search for signs of cancer down there. Not only because over 70% of men have never checked their nuts but also because the earlier you spot the signs, the more likely you are to survive. 

In fact, Cancer Research UK says that 95% of men with testicular cancer survive for more than one to five years and ‘five years is a common time point to measure survival. But some people live much longer than this.’ 

So, how do you check for signs of cancer down below? 

Men's health charity Nuts and Bolts gives you three simple steps: steam, roll repeat. 

First, hop in the shower to loosen up your testicles - the steam will help everything relax and make it easier for you to spot if anything has changed. Then, it’s time to roll your nuts between your thumb and fingers, one at a time. 

You’ll probably find nothing to worry about. However, if you do experience any pain, find a new lump or are experiencing continuing back pain it’s time to visit your doctor. 

What makes me more vulnerable to having testicular cancer?

Up to 10% of all cancers are caused by family ties, and having a close relative with a history of testicular cancer can mean you are at higher risk. 

Race and ethnicity also have a role to play in whether you’re more likely to develop cancer down below. A 2019 report from the European Urology journal finds that ‘while the highest incidence of testicular cancer remains in Northern Europe, the gap is closing between higher- and lower-incidence regions.’ Despite this development, men living in Africa or Asia are at lower risk. 

The biggest risk factor for developing testicular cancer is undescended testicles at birth. The NHS says: ‘Men with undescended testicles are about 3 times more likely to develop testicular cancer than men whose testicles descend at birth or shortly after.’

What shall I do if I find or feel something strange?

Most lumps within the scrotum are not cancerous, but it's important to get checked as soon as possible so head to your GP and get checked. If you want to make sure you’re keeping on top of any changes down there, you can ask your doctor to check for you at regular GP visits. 

If a healthcare professional finds something out of the ordinary, there are lots of treatment options available. The first line of defence is usually the removal of the cancerous testicle (an orchiectomy). Then, if that doesn’t work, you will likely undergo radio or chemotherapy. 

However, as we said earlier, the sooner cancer is caught the less likely it is to spread. So, get to know your nuts!

If you need more support for testicular cancer, the NHS and Nuts and Bolts have great resources. Whilst you're here, why not check out our men’s health hub?

Information contained in this Articles page has been written by talkhealth based on available medical evidence. The content however should never be considered a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek medical advice before changing your treatment routine. talkhealth does not endorse any specific products, brands or treatments.

Information written by the talkhealth team

Last revised: 8 December 2023
Next review: 8 December 2026