Men’s habits: here’s one that could save your life

Men are more likely to tidy the house, wash the bed sheets and do the ironing each month than they are to check themselves for testicular cancer, claims male cancer charity Orchid.

The charity’s survey into men’s habits reveals only 29 percent check themselves monthly for lumps and bumps that could be early indicators of testicular cancer. Women, on the other hand, are twice as likely to check themselves for the signs and symptoms of breast cancer.

The survey quizzed a thousand UK men between the ages of 18 and 45. It was released as part of the charity’s annual event, Orchid Male Cancer Awareness Week, which this year runs from April 3 – 9 as part of the globally recognised testicular cancer awareness month.

Each year around 2,300 men in the UK are affected by testicular cancer, most commonly those between the ages of 15 and 45. But while it’s a life-changing disease it boasts a 98 percent cure rate if caught early. That’s why getting into the habit of checking yourself is critical, the charity claims.

Dr Peter Branney, a psychologist at Leeds Beckett University, claims it’s not a difficult habit to form – just follow the three Rs: reminder, routine and reward:

Reminder: Set yourself a monthly reminder, schedule it into your phone, write it on your calendar.

Routine: Make sure a quick check fits into your existing monthly routine – instead of change-the-bed day, make it check-yourself day.

Reward: Remember that a quick check could save your life so give yourself some credit – rewarding yourself will motivate you to want to do it again.

“We know that around twice as many men know they should check themselves as actually do it, so the key is getting men into the habit of undertaking this easy-to-do check,” says Dr Branney. “Following the habit-forming principles of reminder, routine and reward will make it easier for even more men to build a testicle check into their regular monthly routine, hopefully saving lives.”

Men’s habits: from car cleaning to eyebrow plucking

The men’s habits survey came up with some other interesting findings too. For instance, while just 29 percent check themselves monthly for the signs of testicular cancer – which is about the same number of men who go to the gym regularly – 35 percent clean their car, van or bike, and 25 percent check their tyre pressure.

Getting your hair cut is the top men’s personal care habit, with 49 percent saying they visit the barber’s each month. And while only nine percent buy new underwear regularly, 13 percent pluck their eyebrows and 26 percent trim their public hair.

Meanwhile getting active and weighing yourself both turned out to be more popular than checking yourself for testicular cancer, with 39 percent of men saying they play a sport each month and 37 percent stepping on the bathroom scales.

• For more information on testicular cancer – including tips on how to examine yourself for the signs – visit Orchid’s website.