Guys: Check Your Balls

Are testicular exams women’s work?

This article by Earl Hipp was previously published on the Man-Making Blog, and is reprinted here with permission.

Among other places, this poster appeared in the women’s toilet in a Hobart (Tasmania) pub. Is this going too far? 

One in 268 men will be diagnosed with cancer of the testis during their lifetime. While we often think of this as an older man’s disease, while rare, it’s the most common cancer in males between 15 and 45. It peaks in males in their mid-twenties. Other cancers causing death in guys include lung, prostate, bowel, and melanoma. As the poster states, men are 33% more likely to be diagnosed with cancer than women, and 30% more men will die of the disease than women! Given these numbers, it seems to me we should have more loud and bold approaches to men’s balls and this aspect of men’s health directed at both teem males and men.We seem to live in a very pink world these days, where so much (important) attention is given to breast cancer awareness. Yet it seems odd to me that a poster using the word “balls” and suggesting men (and their partners) should be checking them, might be seen as even a little provocative. This is especially true given the data on testicular and other cancers for men.

Blue September ( is a global awareness and fundraising initiative for all men’s cancers. Blue was chosen as a men’s color as pink is the preferred color for women’s breast cancer awareness. Since starting in New Zealand, the Blue September movement has migrated to Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Ireland. The Blue September blokes in Australia, who created the poster, are supporting Australian Prostate Cancer Research and The Australian Cancer Research Foundation. They say each year, more than 22,000 Australian men die of cancer. For the record, the number for annual male deaths in the US is 33,000.

GO NUTS! Just one of many campaigns across the globe included a Blue September event in the US, prior to the Oakland Raiders/Pittsburgh Steelers game, September 23, 2012 (see link below). It turns out research says walnuts can improve prostate heath. In order to raise awareness about testicular and other cancers for men, prior to the game, fans were given a package of California walnuts, blue wrist bands, and health information. The jumbo screens also showed a pre-game video on the topic. What a great way to bring this topic to a male audience.

Are you willing to help get the word out to young men and adult males? It would be a sad thing to lose a guy at any age to testicular cancer just because we can’t comfortably talk about gonads, nads, nuts, testicles, rocks, bollocks, sack nuggets, groin, the acorns, cracker jacks, stones, kerbangers, marbles, the yam bag, your junk, tenders, cullions, the dangly bits, pelotas, nutsack, doo-dahs, bollocks, huevos, kiwis, clappers, family jewels, cojones, the package, knackers, cods, love spuds, and yes, balls.

Here are some links to great videos and information on Blue September, testicular cancer, and Testicular Self-Exam (TSE) for men and young males:

  • A clip of Ireland’s Munster Rugby Team getting painted blue for the cause.
  • A really great website, run by regular guy cancer survivors. They tell moving personal stories, a very informative video clip, and some TSE instruction from straight talking men.
  • A great teen health website,, with some very straight forward instructions on how to do Testicular Self-Exam (TSE).


Read more on Men and Cancer on The Good Life.

Images courtesy of the author

About Earl Hipp

Earl Hipp runs a blog about men, boys, male culture, mentoring, rites of passage, and men helping boys on their journey to manhood. You can find it at You can follow Earl on Google+.


  1. Thanks for speaking that piece of non-PC personal truth. I appreciate your honesty.

    Speaking as a recovering, health care system avoiding male, I’m thinking campaigns that call attention to men’s health issues help to make men more aware of their bodies, and be more willing to talk about the ways they may be vulnerable to all kinds of health problems. Having enlightening and honest conversations, getting good data, and experiencing support are likely spin-offs of Blue September and other (even Pink) campaigns.

  2. @Sara: Well said, Everything is about PINK nowadays, it has become big business, Campbells soup for example has the pink soup cans, but if you read the fine print, they don’t donate money per can (per se) they donate per can UP TO A CERTAIN AMOUNT, after that, all the sales go to Campbells.

  3. Personally as a woman, I’m sick of the pink campaigns. I don’t need any more awareness abt breast cancer, especially since studies have shown that self breast exams and even mammograms don’t actually save any lives. The truth is, survival depends on whether or not you have an aggressive cancer. If it’s aggressive, by the time it’s big enough to detect, it’s already too late. That’s the truth no one wants to face.

  4. Gladto hear that all th ‘Blue’ causes are going well in New Zeland and Austrailia, Here in America though, Pink seems to rule the day. Depending on which study you read, we men average 4-5 or 7 years less of life and people here are more than willing to accept it as the way it is.

  5. Half of all men will be diagnosed with testicular cancer? I’ve never seen that stat before.

  6. Not at all surprised at the stats. As I noted in the article, awareness of these male health issues is growing. The MOvember campaign along with Blue September are now growing in many countries across the globe. While I don’t think the men involved needed permission, it may have been that the call to “pink” and the increased cancer awareness was inspirational.

    I do like the idea of BROvember being a peak time for men’s health awareness, and for GMP and other outlets getting on board.

    What ever it takes man.

  7. Among other places, this poster appeared in the women’s toilet in a Hobart (Tasmania) pub. Is this going too far?

    I wonder in the same question would ever even be considered if the poster was for a women’s health issue being placed in the “”””Little BOYS””””” room?

    It’s interesting to use some technology and see where it leads you. Try Google Trends – It’s an eye opener.

    Take gender related cancer as an example – look up cancer and see how it trends on-line (Do Note The October Spikes), then compare it against Breast cancer and see how that is 25% of the traffic – and the have a look at Cervical Cancer and see how that Trends at around 1 to 3 %.

    Have a look at testicular cancer and note how it trends at 0 %.

    Is this going too far? ….. er – let me see? Do I need to look at the Google Trend for “No Brainer” Vs “Inverted Sexism” as well?

    If the idea of Handling Junk is too much for some – I hate to see how they would react to a prostate self exam!

    I wonder if GMP could make Brovember a quality month about guy issues, with the poorly managed silliness of inverted sexism left at the door? Anyone doing any Bro Type action to raise awareness and even money …. or do the little boys need to wait to be given permission and told that it would not be seen as sexists to mention male cancer issues?

    • Just Passing says:

      Sounds like this guy just wrote an article to bring awareness. He didn’t need permission, but from your remarks you seem pretty upset that he didn’t ask your permission first.

      and thoset trend you speak of just speak to the social trend of women taking better care of themsleves than men.

      I need glasses. My boyfriend needs glasses. guess which one of us went to the doctor to take of this issue.

      I have teeth. My boyfriend has teeth. quess which one of us puts the work in to make the appointment take time off work and drive our asses to the appointment.

      • I too need glasses – but being a man I evidently get it completely wrong and go see an Optician/Optometrist and leave the doctor out of the equation!

        Us men just can’t be trusted to know what to do with balls – including eye balls! P^)


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