Enhancing Men’s Awareness of Testicular Disease (E-Mat): A Feasibility Study and Study Within A Trial (SWAT)

Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in European men younger than 50 years. In Ireland, 176 men are diagnosed with testicular cancer each year. Testicular cancer treatments, especially in late stages, can cause infertility, heart, and neurological diseases. Other testicular diseases can also cause lumps and bumps. These are usually detected accidentally by men. For example, epididymitis is an infection that can lead to sepsis if not treated. If detected early, men with testicular diseases endure less treatments and lower financial costs.

Our previous research found that men in Ireland knew very little about testicular diseases and many were unwilling to visit their GP if they experienced testicular symptoms. For this reason, we developed a 3-level Virtual Reality (VR) educational game called “Enhancing Men’s Awareness of Testicular diseases” or E-MATVR, delivered using a VR headset. E-MATVR uses light humour to educate men about testicular diseases and encourage them to examine their testicles and seek medical help for symptoms.

The current study will allow us to compare E-MATVR to a traditional Electronic intervention that uses plain text and images or E-MATE. Several GAA clubs are interested in promoting the health of their players. Therefore, this study will be conducted with approximately 74 male GAA players who are at risk for testicular lumps and bumps.

In this study, men will:

  1. Complete a survey about their knowledge of testicular diseases.
  2. Sit for E-MATVR or E-MATE.
  3. Complete a survey immediately after E-MATVR/E-MATE.
  4. Complete a third survey three months later.

We will also:

  1. Explore social media that are most suitable to recruit men.
  2. Assess the cost-benefit of E-MATVR and E-MATE.
  3. Interview men about their experiences of E-MATVR/E-MATE.

Ultimately, this research will help us determine whether a larger study is worth conducting and whether VR can be used to promote men’s health in the future

Award Date
04 December 2020
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Dr Mohamad Saab
Host Institution
University College Cork
DIFA 2020