Skip to main content

Military Health System

Important Notice about Pharmacy Operations

Change Healthcare Cyberattack Impact on MHS Pharmacy Operations. Read the statement to learn more. 

Be proactive in looking for early signs of testicular cancer

Image of Military health personnel giving and examination. Air Force 2nd Lt. Kylee Bolinder (left), 60th Inpatient Squadron nurse, cleans a power port on Nicholas Pilch, 60th Air Mobility Wing. Pilch underwent chemotherapy for testicular cancer in 2020. It is important for servicemen to do monthly self-exams to screen for early signs of testicular cancer. While rare, testicular cancer is most prevalent among men between the ages of 15-34 (Photo by: Nicholas Pilch, 60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs).

Testicular Cancer Week is an important time to remind service members to be proactive in their health.

According to Navy Lt. Cmdr. (Dr.) Dorota Hawksworth, a urologist at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, testicular cancer is very rare, but is most common amongst males between 15 and 34 years of age, the age bracket of many military members.

Testicular cancer is a disease in which malignant cells form in the tissues of one or both testicles. While the diagnosis of cancer can be frightening, testicular cancer can usually be cured.

"Many men have no known risk factors," said Hawksworth, "the known risk factors [for testicular cancer] can't be changed."

These risk factors include a personal history of undescended testicle or prior testicular cancer, family history of testicular cancer, HIV infection, diagnosis of Klinefelter's disease, age, race, and ethnicity, Hawksworth noted. White males develop testicular cancer at a rate four times higher than that of Black males, according to cancer.gov.

Testicular cancer can be detected early through screenings both at home and by a doctor.

"Screening means looking for cancer before person has any symptoms. This process is performed differently, depending on the type of cancer," said Hawksworth.

Testicular cancer however has no standard routine or screening. According to Hawksworth, most testicular cancers are found by a man or his partner, either by chance or by a self-screening.

Self-exams should be performed monthly and in a warm environment such as a bath or shower to allow the scrotum to be more "relaxed," Hawksworth noted. Then each testis should be felt separately, using both hands to ensure that the contour is even and smooth with an egg-like shape with both testes about the same size.

If during a self-exam a patient finds a nodule or hard mass on or around the testicle, a size change, or difference in one or both testes, pain, or if the patient "thinks" he feels something and is unsure, he should seek medical attention urgently.

According to Hawksworth, most tumors present with a painless mass or swelling in one or sometimes both testes. Testicular pain only occurs in about 10% of men with testicular cancer. Men may have systemic, as opposed to localized, pain, "they may complain about breast swelling, back pain, or an abnormal pain or mass," said Hawksworth.

If caught early enough, many testicular cancers can be removed through surgery. According to cancer.gov, testicular cancer has a 95% five-year survival rate.

You also may be interested in...

Fact Sheet
May 25, 2023

Take Care of Your Kidneys

.PDF | 1.80 MB

Patient brochure with information on what kidneys do, why you have kidney disease, how will you know if you have a kidney problem, stages of Chronic Kidney Disease, who can help, and where to find more information.

Video
Apr 25, 2023

MHS Video On Sexual Assault in the Military

MHS video on sexual assault in the military

Ms. Seileen Mullen, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, stopped by DHA headquarters to discuss everyone's role in preventing sexual harassment and assault and DHA's unique role in treating patients after sexual trauma. Sexual assault is a real problem within our military. Everyone in the military community can play a ...

Article Around MHS
Mar 30, 2023

Protecting the Warfighter's Health and Readiness, Now and Into the Future

An anopheles mosquito specimen sample sits under the microscope during a demonstration of the U.S. Army’s medical technology development and modernization efforts, Fort Detrick, Maryland, on Feb. 23. (Photo by Summer Abdoh, U.S. Army)

A cure for a debilitating and sometimes deadly disease, new treatments for working military dogs, a snakebite antidote, and a treatment for respiratory disease! See how years of research collaborations are providing protections for warfighters in remote places like never before.

Infographic
Mar 27, 2023

National Public Health Week: Sexual Health

National Public Health Week - Sexual Health

Soldiers are responsible for protecting their own sexual health, protecting others by preventing the transmission of STIs, and preventing unintended pregnancy/paternity. #DefensePublicHealth provides resources for soldiers to educate themselves. https://phc.amedd.army.mil/topics/healthyliving/rsbwh/Pages/default.aspx #NationalPublicHealthWeek #NPHW ...

Infographic
Mar 27, 2023

National Public Health Week: DHA Public Health

National Public Health Week, April 3-9 2023: Armed Forces Health Surveillance, Occupational Environmental and Health Division, Radiation Safety Division, Immunization Healthcare Division, Veterinary Services Division, DOD HIV/AIDS Prevention Program, Health Readiness Support Division, Health Promotion and Wellness Division

It’s National Public Health Week! Join DHA Public Health as we celebrate health professionals around the globe caring for the total health of the Joint Force, military services, families, and the DOD. Learn how public health contributes to healthy communities! Read more at: www.health.mil/publichealth #DHAPublicHealth #NPHW

Infographic
Mar 27, 2023

National Public Health Week: Food & Nutrition

National Public Health Week - Food and Nutrition

Fueling service members for maximum physical and mental performance goes beyond the basics. Good #nutrition is vital to good health, disease prevention, and essential for healthy growth and development. https://health.mil/PerformanceNutritionHelpsReadiness #FoodisFuel #NationalPublicHealthWeek #NPHW #DefensePublicHealth

Infographic
Mar 27, 2023

National Public Health Week: Mental Health

National Public Health Week - Mental Health

Mental wellness is important for everyone, including service members, veterans, and their loved ones. Mental health care is not one-size-fits-all. Resources related to combat stress, depression, reintegration, how to get into treatment, types of treatment for mental health conditions, and many other topics are available. https://www.health.mil ...

Last Updated: July 11, 2023
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on X Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery