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Hered Cancer Clin Pract. 2009 May 29;7(1):11. doi: 10.1186/1897-4287-7-11.

Factors associated with testicular self-examination among unaffected men from multiple-case testicular cancer families.

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  • 1Division of Population Sciences, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, Flordia, USA.



The lifetime testicular cancer (TC) risk in the general population is relatively low (~1 in 250), but men with a family history of TC are at 4 to 9 times greater risk than those without. Some health and professional organizations recommend consideration of testicular self-examination (TSE) for certain high-risk groups (e.g. men with a family history of TC). Yet little is known about factors associated with TSE behaviors in this at-risk group.


We collected information on this subject during an on-going NCI multidisciplinary, etiologically-focused, cross-sectional Familial Testicular Cancer (FTC) study. We present the first report specifically targeting TSE behaviors among first- and second-degree relatives (n = 99) of affected men from families with >/= 2 TC cases. Demographic, medical, knowledge, health belief, and psychological factors consistent with the Health Belief Model (HBM) were evaluated as variables related to TSE behavior, using chi-square tests of association for categorical variables, and t-tests for continuous variables.


For men in our sample, 46% (n = 46) reported performing TSE regularly and 51% (n = 50) reported not regularly performing TSE. Factors associated (p < .05) with regularly performing TSE in multivariate analysis were physician recommendation and testicular cancer worry. This is the first study to examine TSE in unaffected men from FTC families.


The findings suggest that, even in this high-risk setting, TSE practices are sub-optimal. Our data provide a basis for further exploring psychosocial issues that are specific to men with a family history of TC, and formulating intervention strategies aimed at improving adherence to TSE guidelines.

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