Testicular Cancer Awareness: Learn Self Exams Early in Life!

What if we could teach our boys to "check themselves" for testicular abnormalities at an early age?

Photo of Celia Fraticelli
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Founding Story: Share a story about a key experience or spark that helps the network understand why this project got started or a story about how you became inspired about the potential for this project to succeed.

My 25 y/o son, Matthew, was a Special Olympics athlete that loved to play soccer and enjoyed volunteering as a patient transporter at the hospital. He was diagnosed with Stage IIIB aggressive testicular cancer on 13 Mar, 2015. It had already moved to his lymph system and multiple masses behind his stomach. He was not checking himself regularly and when he started to notice swelling on the left side he was too embarrassed to tell me. Early detection of testicular cancer is the key to curing it!

Which categories describe you? (the answer will not be public)

  • White (for example: German, Irish, English, Italian, Polish, French, Caucasian)



Location: Where is your organization headquartered? [State]

  • Pennsylvania

Location: Where is your organization headquartered? [City]

New Cumberland

Location: Where is your project primarily creating impact? [State]

  • Pennsylvania

Location: Where is your project primarily creating impact? [City]

The following counties in our EMS Regional Council area: Adams, York, Cumberland, Lebanon, Lancaster, Perry, Dauphin, Franklin

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Young men need to be aware of the importance of monthly checks for any changes to their testicles and groin. Though testicular cancer in children under 12 is very rare, early detection is key and getting the word out that it is not an embarrassment is half the battle. Testicular cancer can be treated and usually cured, especially when it’s found early – when it’s small and hasn’t spread. Let's teach our boys to regularly check themselves!

The solution to decreasing advanced testicular cancer is awareness and education! Don't be afraid to talk about it. Encourage any males in your family and community to do monthly self-exams and see their physician if anything seems abnormal. A strong sense of self is knowing your body and keeping it healthy. Focusing on parents educating their son's to know their own bodies and not feeling awkward to talk about what is normal and what is not. Education is key!

Is your model focused on any of the following traditionally underserved communities?

  • No, not explicitly

Does your model work within any of the following sectors?

  • Education
  • Other

If you chose "other," please share the sector you work within here:

Emergency Medical Services. We work towards advancement of improved healthcare in our communities.

Year Founded


Project Stage

  • Idea (poised to launch)

Example: Walk the network through a specific example of what happens when a person or group engages with your solution.

Many children are involved in some type of sport and engaging their parents when they are young about the importance of monthly self exams helps create improved self awareness. Encourage them to discuss with their primary care physician about having a testicular exam when they have their sports or yearly physicals. Empower the parent(s) to talk to their son's about checking themselves regularly and not feeling awkward to discuss any changes they may notice. We strive to offer up to date information on how to perform monthly self-exams, celebrate survivor's of cancer and educate our community to be aware of the signs of testicular cancer and the importance of early detection.

Impact: What was the impact of your work last year? Please also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.


Organization Type

  • nonprofit/NGO/citizen sector

Annual Budget

  • $1k - $10k

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is your solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

We plan on collaborating with local hospitals, pediatrician's and the Special Olympics to gain access to a larger audience of children who will benefit from this type of education and awareness. Within these resources we will seek donations of relevant material and ideas to further this initiative in our region.

Unique Value Proposition: How else is this problem being addressed? Are there other organizations working in the same field, and how does your project differ from these other approaches?

The American Cancer Society (ACS) and the Testicular Cancer Society (TCS) have established robust programs in place. Personally, I have joined the B.A.L.L. TEAM from TCS which Brings Awareness to a Local Level. We want to reach out to hospitals, sports teams, Special Olympics and other interested parties to bring awareness and education of testicular cancer in our area.

Reflect on the Field and its Future: Stepping outside of your project, what do you see as the most important or promising shifts that can advance children’s wellbeing?

Health promotion is an important part of taking control of your life and improving your overall well-being. In this instance, well-being can be measured by the early teaching for self-exam and the quick identification of any abnormalities. There is shared accountability between parents and physician's in teaching boys at a young age to self-exam. Children have the unique ability to absorb massive amounts of information and teaching them early in life how to keep healthy is the positive direction we should all be seeking.

Source: How did you hear about the Children’s Wellbeing Challenge? (the answer will not be public)

  • Changemakers.com

Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka, who was it? (the answer will not be public)


1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Vid Micevic

Hi Celia,

I absolutely agree with your cause and idea! While I was lucky enough to have my check up with my physician every year, I always wondered why I haven't known this sooner and why wouldn't I be able to check for myself.

I definitely believe that education at an early age on check-ups would help decrease the risk to testicular cancer. As you continue your work and sharing your idea, I wanted to ask a few clarifying questions that could help with further understanding of the solution.

1. While discussing your example, you mention " Empower the parent(s) to talk to their son's about checking themselves regularly and not feeling awkward to discuss any changes they may notice." I think this talk is very crucial, but it must be very effective. How would this talk be shaped? How would you start it? Do you have some specific example lines? Is there some guidelines for parents to follow?

2. I thought every primary care physician had to do a testicular check up...if is not done everywhere how could you work with local physicians to include that in their check up? Are there any guidelines to do this?

3. Are you the only one doing this? I understand that ACS and TCS have some programs in place, but what do they specifically look like? Could you partner with these already established programs to increase the sustainability and impact on the idea?

Thank you for sharing your idea!! Your insights and story have been super helpful. I only wish the idea to start creating impact and scaling so try to partner with others and make sure that everyone knows how to do a check-up.

All the best,