A Touchy Subject

Too few men do testicular self-exam

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MONDAY, March 3, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Most men aren't taught how to do testicular self-exams and they also don't bother performing them.

So says an American study in the March issue of Pediatrics.

The electronic survey of 129 pediatric or pediatric/internal medicine residents at two teaching programs found that only 29 percent of the male residents performed monthly testicular self-exams, which take only about a minute to complete.

The survey also found that only 40 percent of the residents taught the testicular self-exam to their 12- to 21-year-old patients.

The most common reason offered by male residents for not doing testicular self-exams on themselves was that they simply forgot. Lack of time and not thinking about it were the reasons they cited for not teaching the self-exam to their patients.

While 41 percent of the residents said they'd been instructed on how to teach testicular self-exam, 88 percent said they'd received instruction on how to teach breast self-exam to patients.

Testicular cancer cases have increased 42 percent in the past 25 years. They accounts for 20 percent of the cancers diagnosed in males aged 15 to 35. That makes it the most common cancer in that age group.

Along with the target age group, risk factors for testicular cancer include being white, family history and an undescended testes. Monthly self-exams are recommended for men with one or more of the risk factors.

Testicular cancer has a 5-year survival rate of 96 percent. As with all cancers, late detection significantly lowers the chances of survival.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about testicular cancer.

SOURCE: Medical College of Georgia, news release, March 3, 2003

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