The Ball-Checking Booth Testing For Cancer Without Any Awkward Eye Contact
In the Venn diagram of life, there's a little spot where "things that are awkward" and "things that are really important" overlap. Getting checked for testicular cancer sits in that space.
Enter the Testimatic -- a so-called 'Auto Ball Checker' which is giving New Zealand men the opportunity to get their little guys checked without having to face a doctor, you know, face-to-face.
A man steps into the booth, draws the curtain, drops his paints and through a little hole in front of him a urologist or GP checks his testicles for any lumps or abnormalities.
About 30 seconds later the check-up is finished sans awkward eye contact.
“We created the Testimatic to show blokes how quick and easy, and important, it is to check their testicles," said Graeme Woodside, CEO of Testicular Cancer NZ.
The booth was set up over the weekend alongside all your stereotypical boy toys, including cars, barbeques and big old construction machines, at the Big Boys Toys expo in New Zealand.
As part of Testicular Cancer NZ's mission to encourage men to get into the habit of self-checking monthly, the Testimatic was essentially an "awareness tool."
"Guys are not good at looking after their health, that’s generally understood," Graeme explained.
"This is particularly a young guy’s disease so we wanted to get the message through to young guys that they should be looking after their health and if they didn’t know how to check their balls this was the easiest way of learning how to do it."
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Testicular cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australian men aged 20-39. In New Zealand, it's the most common cancer affecting men aged between 15-39.
But caught early, it has one of the highest survival rates of any cancer -- about 99 percent if diagnosed during the first stage.
While the Testimatic is part of an awareness campaign and not to be viewed as the future of testicular cancer treatment, Associate Professor and consultant urologist Declan Murphy thinks the initiative is fantastic.
"I think the very fact that this gets us talking about this condition in men is important because it doesn't get much attention," Murphy told 10 daily.
"We know that for men in general we need all the encouragement we can to help men help themselves."
While Murphy said regular self-checking is the most important thing for all men, there are two groups who are at greater risk.
"Everyone should check themselves out, but particularly those with a family history of testicular cancer or ones who had descended testicles as a child," he explained.
So while footage of the Testimatic's ominous gloved hand is great-- albeit odd without context-- and the concept can insight a giggle, the message Graeme hopes it sends home is less of a laughing matter and not exclusive to Kiwis.
"You guys need to check yourselves," he said.
"You need to do it once a month. Look for anything that's different to what it was last time -- lumps, bumps, swelling, soreness, anything like that.”
Because, obviously, there isn't a Testimatic on every corner.