Men “check” their testicles on average seven times a day, a survey suggests.
Two thousand men were asked how often they touch themselves “down there”.
While seven was the average, nearly a quarter (23%) admitted to putting their hands down their boxers at least 10 times a day.
And 1% touched their testicles an astonishing 50 times over 24 hours, the survey found.
Although clearly comfortable with giving themselves the once over, nearly two-thirds (62%) of the respondents claimed they had not let a doctor check their testicles for lumps in more than a decade.
“We want men to get to know their nuts and feel comfortable performing checks themselves,” Anne-Cecile Berthier, UK country director of Movember - which was involved in the research, told Yahoo UK.
“Movember recommends you check your testicles at least once a month and get to grips with what’s normal for your body.
“If you notice a change in size or shape, a lump that wasn’t there before, or if they become painful to touch, it’s important you see a doctor.
“There’s no need to panic, but you should get it checked out as soon as you can.”
Checking your testicles once a month can help spot everything from cysts and swelling to infections and cancer.
While “cancer” is a scary word, 98% of men with testicular tumours are still alive five years after their diagnosis, NHS statistics show.
The survey, ran by KP Nuts, found 11% of the respondents never check themselves.
And many only felt for lumps after an injury, rather than as a standard once-a-month check-up.
What should testicles feel like?
Most men’s testicles are around the same size, however, for some one is slightly bigger than the other or hangs lower.
Testicles should feel smooth, with no lumps or bumps, according to the NHS.
Some men may notice a small tube at the back of each testicle. This is the epididymis, which stores and carries sperm.
While finding a lump may leave many panicking, just two in 50 bumps “down there” are cancerous, NHS statistics show.
It is more likely a variocele, enlarged vein, or cyst.
Testicular twisting, known as a torsion, or a chlamydia infection can also be to blame.
How to check your testicles
The British charity It’s In The Bag recommends men start checking their testicles once a month from the age of 15.
Testicular cancer is unusual in that it tends to affect young men. According to the NHS, those aged 15 to 49 are most at risk.
To help make the “check up” part of their routine, the charity urges boys to “have a feel” when they get out the shower.
Once they know what their testicles “normally” look and feel like, they can better spot any changes.
Boys and men should rest their testicle in the palm of their hand, before gently rolling each one between their finger and thumb.
Look for any lumps on the front or side, which may be painless.
Swellings or growth should also raise alarm bells.
Also be aware of any firmness, heaviness, discomfort or differences between the two testicles.
If you spot any of the above, see your GP.
The doctor will check themselves by rolling your testicles between their thumb and forefinger. Point out when they hit any pain or swelling.
They may also shine a light through the scrotum to see if it goes through the lump. Cancerous masses tend to be solid, while cysts are more “transparent”.
How common is testicular cancer? And how is it treated?
Considered one of the less common forms of the disease, 2,364 new cases of testicular cancer emerged in the UK between 2014 and 2016, Cancer Research UK statistics show.
Testicular tumours therefore account for just 1% of cancers in men, NHS statistics show.
And in the US, around 9,560 men are expected to have been diagnosed by the end of this year, according to the American Cancer Society.
Around 95% of cases are germ cell testicular cancer, which are the cells where sperm is produced.
Testicular cancer does not always have a clear cause.
However, men born with undescended testicles are around three times more at risk, according to the NHS.
Between 3% and 5% of boys are born with their testicles in their abdomen. These usually descend on their own within a year.
If they fail to move down naturally, surgery may be required to position them in the scrotum.
Testicles are on the outside of the body due to sperm production taking place at 35°C (95°F), which is 2°C (35°F) cooler than body temperature.
Exposure to these higher temperatures, even for a short while, may trigger cancer later in life.
Testicular tumours may also have a genetic link, with men being around four times more likely to develop the disease if their father suffered.
And having a brother with the condition raises a man’s risk by eight times.
Having cancer in one testicle also increases the odds it will develop in the other by between 12 and 18 times, NHS statistics show.
However, “almost all men treated for testicular germ cell tumours are cured”, with it being “rare” for the disease to return more than five years later.
Treatment almost always involves surgically removing the affected testicle.
Providing the other is healthy, most men can still have children.
Chemo or radiotherapy may be required in rare cases.
Find more information on testicular cancer on the NHS website.