Q: A lot of people in my family died from cancer. What should I avoid so that I don’t get cancer too?
A: You can’t change your family history, but you can protect yourself by staying away from known risk factors whenever you can.
• Tobacco¬Don’t use tobacco products and avoid being around tobacco smoke.
• Sunlight¬Don’t spend too much time in the sun, don’t use sunlamps, and don’t go to tanning booths.
• Alcohol¬Don’t have more than one or two drinks per day.
• Cancer-causing substances¬Avoid contact with substances like asbestos and benzene.
• Ionizing radiation¬Avoid being exposed to radiation from unneeded x-rays.
If you think you may be at risk for cancer, talk to your doctor. Ask how you can reduce your risk and about tests and exams that can detect cancer early.
Q: My boyfriend says he can feel a lump in his testicle. Is that a sign of cancer?
A: Testicular cancer can cause several symptoms. Common symptoms include:
• a lump or swelling in a testicle
• pain or discomfort in a testicle or in the scrotum
• any growth of a testicle or change in the way it feels
• a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
• a dull pain in the lower abdomen, back, or groin
These symptoms can be caused by cancer or other health problems. It is important to see a doctor to find out the cause of any symptom.
For more information about testicular cancer, call the Cancer Information Service at 1–800–4–CANCER.