Cancer
The most common type of testicular cancer is known as 'germ cell testicular cancer', which accounts for around 95% of all casesNHS

Each year around 2,300 men in the UK are diagnosed with testicular cancer.

Although it is one of the least common forms of the disease, early detection is essential to improving survival rates, just like breast and lung cancer. An impressive 98% of testicular cancer cases can be cured if caught early enough.

It is important for men to examine their testicles regularly, ideally at least once a month, for any signs of cancer, such as lumps or swellings. These checks should be done from puberty onwards.

In the run up to World Cancer Day on 4 February, ITV's Check Your Chaps campaign seeks to raise awareness of testicular and prostate cancer.

Former Westlife star Brian McFadden and his wife Vogue helped launch the campaign.

"I always thought - and I think most guys my age are the same - 'It's not going to happen to me, I'm 35, I'm still young, it's old people who get cancer'. [It is] this weird [idea] that boys have," he said during and appearance on ITV's Lorraine.

"Anyone can get it any age, you could be healthy, you don't have to smoke, drink, it just happens."

The two main subtypes of germ cell testicular cancer are seminomas and non-seminomas. Both respond well to chemotherapy.

How to check your balls

Clear your schedule: Once a month, spend some quality time with your manhood.

Get comfortable: The best time to examine your testicles is when the scrotum is relaxed so you can feel the contents more easily. So try having a warm bath or shower first before your self-examination.

Get familiar: While supporting your scrotum in the palm of your hand use your fingers and thumb to gently feel each testicle and check for anything unusual by applying gentle pressure. As it is common to have one testicle slightly larger, or hang lower than the other, spend time getting to know both.

Explore: The epididymis, the phallic-shaped tube on top of and behind the testicle - which stores sperm - should feel soft and slightly tender to the touch, so do not be alarmed.

In contrast, the spermatic cord, which goes out from the top of the epididymis and behind the testicle - should feel like a firm, smooth tube.

Investigate: When you know what's normal for you, look for changes. If you find a lump or swelling, visit your GP as soon as possible.

Top tips

    • Although most lumps found in the testicles are benign, changes in shape, size and weight should be checked out by a GP. Do not ignore them.
    • You might feel you invincible, but remember testicular cancer is a young man's disease and the leading cancer of men between ages 15-35.
    • Do not be afraid to confide in family and friends about your concerns. Speaking out could save your life.