'Gonad groping' Brits won't spot testicle cancer - doctor

March 29, 2012

Celebrity appeals for British men to fondle their testicles to detect early signs of cancer are a waste of time and possibly harmful, an opinion piece published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) says.

Singer Robbie Williams and the Leicester Tigers rugby team are among those who have lent their names to a campaign for men to be "testicle aware," just as women are encouraged to look for dangerous lumps in their breasts.

But in a personal view published in Thursday's , Doctor Keith Hopcroft, a in the southeastern county of Essex, lashes the invitation for a man to "grope his gonads or caress his crown jewels" as "well-meaning whimsy, with the potential to do harm."

"There is no good evidence that routine testicular self-examination is of any benefit," he writes.

"The chances of discovering something significant from routine self-examination of the testicles are minuscule. At least 50,000 men would need to examine themselves for 10 years to prevent one death."

Hopcroft says the "testicle aware" campaign is based on the notion that this form of cancer is a , with no symptoms of pain.

The campaigners argue men should look for painless swelling that, they say, is a possible sign of cancer.

But, argues Hopcroft, at least half of patients with usually experience pain.

The real question is teaching men to be aware of this symptom and act on it swiftly, rather than "turning the nation's blokes into ball-watching neurotics," he says

Self-examination may turn up benign swellings such as epididymal cysts that are harmless but may cause the man crippling anxiety, he adds.

Explore further: New genetic region responsible for testicle development found

Related Stories

New genetic region responsible for testicle development found

September 26, 2011
New research presented today at the European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology meeting has found a genetic region, which may control testicle development in the foetus.

Recommended for you

'Hijacker' drives cancer in some patients with high-risk neuroblastoma

January 23, 2018
Researchers have identified mechanisms that drive about 10 percent of high-risk neuroblastoma cases and have used a new approach to show how the cancer genome "hijacks" DNA that regulates other genes. The resulting insights ...

Enzyme inhibitor combined with chemotherapy delays glioblastoma growth

January 23, 2018
In animal experiments, a human-derived glioblastoma significantly regressed when treated with the combination of an experimental enzyme inhibitor and the standard glioblastoma chemotherapy drug, temozolomide.

Scientists block the siren call of two aggressive cancers

January 23, 2018
Aggressive cancers like glioblastoma and metastatic breast cancer have in common a siren call that beckons the bone marrow to send along whatever the tumors need to survive and thrive.

Researchers identify a protein that keeps metastatic breast cancer cells dormant

January 23, 2018
A study headed by ICREA researcher Roger Gomis at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) has identified the genes involved in the latent asymptomatic state of breast cancer metastases. The work sheds light ...

Workouts may boost life span after breast cancer

January 22, 2018
(HealthDay)—Longer survival after breast cancer may be as simple as staying fit, new research shows.

Boosting cancer therapy with cross-dressed immune cells

January 22, 2018
Researchers at EPFL have created artificial molecules that can help the immune system to recognize and attack cancer tumors. The study is published in Nature Methods.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

gmurphy
not rated yet Mar 29, 2012
'ball-watching neurotics', they do take soccer seriously over there :)

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.