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GPs urged to step up testicular referrals

Many deaths from testicular cancer could be prevented by earlier ultrasound referral by GPs, a new study claims.

It found testicular cancer can be extremely difficult to diagnose with GPs confusing cancerous lumps with cysts and failing to recognise less-common symptoms of the

disease such as swollen

breasts.

The study ­ published in the British Journal of General Practice this month ­ also found diagnosis was delayed further by long waiting times for ultrasound.

Dr Ann McPherson, a GP in Oxford and one of the study authors, said: 'GPs should maintain a high level of suspicion for men with testicular complaints and a low threshold for ultrasound investigations of symptoms.'

During the study 45 men with testicular cancer were interviewed to assess why they thought treatment delays occurred.

Fear of damaging masculine self-image made many wait weeks or months before seeking help and the study confirmed earlier findings that many men are afraid to admit they need help.

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