Warning Signs & Symptoms
Most cases of testicular cancer can be found at an early stage. In some cases, early testicular cancers cause symptoms that lead men to seek medical attention. In about 90% of cases, men have a painless or an uncomfortable lump on a testicle, or they may notice testicular enlargement or swelling. Men with testicular cancer often report a sensation of heaviness or aching in the lower abdomen or scrotum. Unfortunately, however, some testicle cancers may not cause symptoms until after reaching an advanced stage. The American Cancer Society recommends regular testicular self-examination (TSE) and reminds men that any testicular mass should be evaluated by a doctor without delay.
|Test or Procedure
|Testicular Self-Exam (TSE)
The best time to perform testicular self-examination (TSE) is during or after a bath or shower, when the skin of the scrotum is relaxed.
Contact your doctor if you detect any troublesome signs. Be aware that the testicles contain blood vessels, supporting tissues and tubes that conduct sperm and that some men may confuse these with a cancer. If you have any doubts, ask your doctor.
- Stand in front of a mirror and hold the penis out of the way.
- Examine each testicle separately.
- Hold the testicle between the thumbs and fingers with both hands and roll it gently between the fingers.
- Look and feel for any hard lumps or nodules (smooth rounded masses) or any change in the size, shape, or consistency of the testes.
|All men after puberty
Warning Signs and Symptoms
Most testicular cancers can be found at an early stage. Unfortunately, some testicle cancers may not cause symptoms until after reaching an advanced stage, and other may cause symptoms that appear to be due to a disease other than cancer.
In about 90% of cases, men have a painless or an uncomfortable lump on a testicle, or they may notice testicular enlargement or swelling. Men with testicular cancer often report a sensation of heaviness or aching in the lower abdomen or scrotum.
In rare cases, men with germ cell cancer notice breast tenderness or breast growth. This symptom results from the fact that certain types of germ cell tumors secrete high levels of a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), which affects breast development. Blood tests can measure HCG levels; these tests are important in diagnosis, staging, and in follow-up of some testicular cancers.
Other symptoms that sometimes occur are:
Some men with testicular cancer have no symptoms at all, and their cancer is found during medical testing for other conditions. Sometimes, imaging tests done to find the cause of infertility can uncover a small testicular cancer. Or, testicular biopsies to evaluate infertile men may find a cancer.
- Loss of sexual desire;
- Growth of facial and body hair at an abnormally early age in boys;
- Lower back pain;
- Shortness of breath, chest pain, cough, or bloody sputum (mucus).
There are a number of non-cancerous conditions, such as testicle injury, that can produce symptoms similar to those of testicle cancer. Inflammation of the testicle, known as orchitis, can cause painful swelling. Causes of orchitis include viral or bacterial infections. About 1 man in 5 who contracts mumps as an adult experiences orchitis in one or both testes.
If you have any of the signs or symptoms described above, discuss them with your doctor without delay. Remember, the sooner you receive an accurate diagnosis, the sooner you can start treatment and the more effective your treatment will be.