A new campaign which aims to break the silence around testicular cancer was launched recently.

A BALLSY new online campaign aimed at breaking the silence around testicular cancer was launched last month by the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) in partnership with FCB, a Cape Town-based ad agency.

The campaign is called ‘Testimonials’ and features talking testicles giving testimonials about being diagnosed with the disease. Testicular cancer mostly affects young men but they are the ones least likely to talk about it.

“Testicular cancer is one of those personal diseases,” says Gomolemo Mogorosi, a second year student at Wits. “If you do get it…after that you’d be ridiculed.”

Mogorosi’s attitude is typical of many young men. Mike Barnwell, FCB executive creative director said, on the CANSA website, the campaign was designed to get people comfortable talking about testicular cancer and reduce awkwardness around the topic.

“In our society it is not easy to go below the belt,” CANSA head of advocacy Magdalene Seguin said. One in every 27 South African men has a lifetime risk of being diagnosed with testicular cancer, yet, most men still feel uncomfortable talking about health issues related to their testes.

“I think the biggest problem we have as men is letting our masculinity override our judgement,” says Charlton Tshili, a first-year BA student at Wits. “If someone wants to go around
speaking about that stuff it’s weird.”

“I wish we could be open to that stuff and let aside that I’m a man because at the end of the day you might be muscular and stuff but you’re still going to die when you have it,” he said.

As with all cancers, early detection makes all the diff erence for those who end up diagnosed with the disease. Research by Prof Michael C Herbst states that there is no prevention for the disease, which is why the organisation encourages testicular self-examination (TSE).

“It’s important to try to do a TSE every month so you can become familiar with the normal size and shape of your testicles, making it easier to tell if something feels different or abnormal in the future,” writes Prof Michael C Herbst in the Fact Sheet on Testicular Cancer published in January 2016 on CANSA website.

To find the campaign on social media use the hashtag #HaveTheBalls