Salesman Matt Inman-Shore first heard about testicular cancer when he was a boy — his father, grandfather and uncle had all been through it.
‘I was nine when my dad, Steven, now 60, got his diagnosis and 12 when the men in my family began having cringy conversations with me, telling me to check myself,’ says Matt, 31.
‘I always wondered when it was going to be my turn. But unlike my grandad, who waited five years to see the doctor, and my dad and uncle who both waited a year, I saw someone within 24 hours of feeling a lump,’ he says.
Salesman Matt Inman-Shore first heard about testicular cancer when he was a boy — his father, grandfather and uncle had all been through it. He is pictured centre with his Grandad, left, and his Dad, rightInsurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
‘In August 2018, Dad thought his cancer had come back. He didn’t find a lump, but he just didn’t feel right and that’s what prompted me to check myself.
‘His turned out to be nothing, but that day I discovered a lump about the size of a Cadbury’s mini egg in my left testicle. I was so alarmed, I made sure I was in my GP’s surgery the next day.
‘My doctor immediately referred me to the urology department at Nottingham City Hospital because of my family history, and I had an ultrasound scan four days later.
‘Two weeks later, I had a biopsy and two weeks after that, the cancer was confirmed. It was a weird moment — I’d just moved from London to Nottingham and got engaged to my now wife, Stefanie, 34, so everything else in my life was going forward.’
Genetic inheritance plays a much more important role in testicular cancer than in most other cancers, according to new research published in the Scientific Reports journal.
Researchers found that 50 per cent of the risk of developing this cancer comes from our DNA — with environment and lifestyle contributing to the rest. In most other types of cancer, genetics typically account for less than 20 per of the risk.
Scientists studied patterns of testicular cancer in family groups in nearly 16 million Swedes, and the genetic code of 6,000 UK men.
This analysis showed the risk came from a large number of minor variations in DNA, rather than one faulty gene. Fewer than 10 per cent of mutations have so far been identified, however.
But this new research could help diagnose those at greatest risk and help them to manage that risk.
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A follow-up CT scan showed a second, smaller cancer in his other testicle. ‘I could feel nothing, so I had no idea it was there,’ says Matt.
With no family history, men have a one-in-200 chance of developing testicular cancer, but the odds increase to 1 in 50 if you have a father who has had the disease and to 1 in 25 if your brother develops it.
No single faulty gene has been identified for testicular cancer, although the risk is higher in those born with an undescended testicle, and those who develop an inner groin (or inguinal) hernia.
Over the past 20 years, rates have increased with no obvious cause. Incidence for those aged 25 to 49 is up by 28 per cent, aged 50 to 59 by 56 per cent and 60 to 69 by 46 per cent.
According to Cancer Research UK, rates are set to rise by another 12 per cent by 2035, which will mean there are ten cases per 100,000.
The main symptom is a small lump or masses in one or both testicles.
‘If there is a significant difference in how one testicle feels compared with the other, get yourself to the doctor,’ advises Clare Turnbull, senior researcher at the Institute of Cancer Research and professor of genomic medicine at Queen Mary University of London.
All testicular cancer is treated surgically, and