Moore, R.A. and Topping, Annie (1999) Young men's knowledge of testicular cancer and testicular self-examination: a lost opportunity? European Journal of Cancer Care, 8 (3). pp. 137-142. ISSN 0961-5423

Testicular cancer remains the most commonly occurring cancer in young men (aged 20–45 years) and recent trends suggest an increase throughout the western world. Whilst testicular cancer is highly treatable late diagnosis resulting in poorer treatment outcomes remains a problem. Testicular self-examination (TSE) a procedure whereby young men can routinely systematically examine their testicles has been advocated as a particularly effective health education intervention. This study aimed to establish the knowledge of testicular cancer and prevalence of TSE practice amongst young men. A descriptive survey approach using a 16-item self-report questionnaire was administered to a convenience sample of 203 male undergraduate and postgraduate students at the University of Huddersfield. Results indicated that the majority of the respondents were either uninformed or misinformed about the risks and symptoms of testicular cancer although 78% indicated an interest in accessing information. Only 32% had prior knowledge of TSE, 22% practiced TSE, and worryingly only a single respondent was able to recognize the correct procedure and indicated he regularly practiced TSE. Sixty-eight per cent indicated that TSE should be a part of general health assessments for men. Although some critics of TSE argue the cost of teaching TSE outweighs the benefits in terms of early diagnosis this study suggests that young men may be willing to participate in an aspect of personal health surveillance. If this is the case then low cost strategies to increase impact on the target audience should be considered.

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