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Delayed Diagnosis of Testicular Cancer and other Male Cancers

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    A blog to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of male cancers and why prompt diagnosis and treatment is vital.

    By Amy Chater

It was Male Cancer Awareness Week last week (7-13 April 2014) – a well recognised annual campaign by the charity Orchid to raise awareness of the male specific cancers.

Under diagnosis of male cancers is a common problem. Research shows this is mostly as a result of men being too embarrassed to seek medical assistance even when they are concerned about new lumps, bumps or other symptoms.  Interestingly, Orchid have also found that whilst 1 in 3 men are knowledgeable about breast cancer, only 1 in 10 feel confident they know the signs and symptoms of testicular cancer.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF MALE SPECIFIC CANCERS

According to The Institute of Cancer Research, almost 43,000 men are diagnosed with a form of male-specific cancer every year. There are 3 male specific cancers: prostate, testicular and penile.

PROSTATE CANCER

According to the Institute of Cancer Research, prostate cancer is the most common male cancer with around 41,000 men being diagnosed with it each year. It has now overtaken lung cancer in its prevalence. It usually affects older men, over the age of 60. Unfortunately, in its early stages, there are often no symptoms. When there are symptoms they usually include problems with waterworks e.g dribbling, discomfort, problems with flow or a feeling like the bladder hasn’t been fully emptied.

TESTICULAR CANCER

Testicular cancer is less common than prostate cancer however it is the most common cancer in young men, generally affecting those between the ages of 15-44 years. The NHS Choices website advises patients that the most common symptom is a painless lump or swelling in the testicles. Other symptoms can include a dull ache or sharp pain in the scrotum and/or a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum. These symptoms may also be accompanied by fatigue or a feeling of being generally unwell.

PENILE CANCER

Penile cancer is a rare cancer that occurs in the skin or tissue of the penis. It is advised on the NHS Choices website that men should be aware of any abnormalities including a sore or lump on the penis, a change of skin colour in the affected area, thickening of the foreskin or skin of the penis and/or a rash.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO BE AWARE OF MALE SPECIFIC CANCERS?

Early diagnosis is key to a good outcome. It is extremely important to carry out regular personal checks and then see your GP or local sexual health clinic if you notice any swelling or lumps or any abnormality in your testicles or penis. Orchid report a successful treatment rate of 98% for testicular cancer if caught early enough.  Unfortunately delayed diagnosis of testicular cancer can lead to the patient needing more extensive treatment if the cancer has spread further, and also potentially suffering a worse long term outcome, including an adverse impact on their fertility depending on the treatment required.

The Clinical Negligence Team act for many clients who have not been lucky enough to have an early diagnosis.  The delay can be due to the patient themselves not wanting to seek medical assistance for whatever reason, be it embarrassment or a lack of concern/realisation etc. However, sometimes we see cases where medical assistance has been sought but no diagnosis or specialist referral has been made. This can be negligent. If you are worried you might have suffered a delayed diagnosis of testicular cancer or any other male specific cancer then contact the specialist lawyers in the Clinical Negligence Team for advice.

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