“Hey honey, there’s something weird on your junk” is never a statement any man wants to hear much less something any woman wants to say. After all, we’re talking about the part of his body so beloved he gives it more nicknames and takes more pictures of it than his dog. (Unless, you know, he named his peen Dawg. Or Hot Dog. Or Buddy. Or Pitbull. We’re getting off track here. Ahem.)
But just like it’s important for you to check for boob lumps, it’s equally important for him to make sure there’s no junk on his trunk (sorry not sorry). Because testicular cancer is the No. 1 cancer found in men aged 18 to 35, and the most telltale sign your guy has it? A lump.
However, knowing that testicular lumps are A Thing and doing something about them are two separate things. So to help you through this touchy subject, I enlisted the help of S. Adam Ramin, MD, a urologic surgeon and medical director of Urology Cancer Specialists in Los Angeles. I mean, his whole job description is basically “Having conversations with men about their penises that they really don’t want to be having.” And if he can do it, so can you.
So what do you do if you’re getting handsy and feel a nut on his nut? First of all, don’t freak out. Most lumps aren’t cancerous and usually aren’t problematic at all, Ramin says. But the only person who can make that determination is a doctor with access to an ultrasound machine to see if the lump is solid and where it’s located.
“Most lumps we see are actually on the epididymis [the duct that carries sperm behind the testes to the vas deferens] and are quite benign,” he says. “But the ones that are truly attached to the testicle are worrisome.”
Next, make note if your guy has been experiencing any other symptoms that might indicate cancer, such as pain in the testicles or during ejaculation, pain in the low back, fertility problems, erectile dysfunction, or a drop in his sex drive.
Finally, help your man set up an appointment. Yes, this sounds like a lot of hand-holding, and he’s a grown-up and should be able to handle his own medical issues. But, Ramin says, men get extremely sensitive about their sensitive parts and are often in denial about any problems.
“It’s important for partners to understand that many men have a certain level of fear in regards to their genitalia, any potential illnesses and any treatments” he explains. “Know your man well enough to help him get over his discomfort.”
So now the question is, how exactly do you start that conversation? Like a good blow job, there’s no way to sugarcoat it. You just have to go for it. And the sooner you do it, the better, Ramin says. Even though testicular cancer has a very high survival rate, the earlier it’s caught, the easier the treatment and the better the outcome will be.
“This is a serious enough matter that it’s best to be upfront and blunt,” he advises. (And don’t make any one-nut jokes, even though they are hilarious. It’s not the time!) Here’s one possible way to say it: “So I felt something last night that I’ve never felt before, and I’m not sure what it is. But I’m concerned about your health. Can I help you make an appointment?”
And here is one way to definitely not say it:
A nut punch followed by, “What I’m about to tell you is going to be less painful than what you’re feeling now… ”
The important part is just to have the conversation.