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Testicular Cancer

What Are The Symptoms?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - 15:21

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

The earliest symptoms of testicular cancer are:

  • Pain, swelling, or hardness in the testicle, or some combination of these symptoms
  • A small, painless lump on the testicle
  • A "heaviness" in the scrotum
  • An ache in the lower abdomen or groin
  • An accumulation of blood or fluid in the scrotum
  • Any change in the way a testicle feels.

In rare cases, a man will feel tenderness in his breast area. When this happens, it is usually caused by one variety of testicular cancer, in which high levels of a particular hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin, or HCG, are secreted by the growth in the testicle.

None of these symptoms are positive signs of cancer. But if any of these symptoms last longer than two weeks, a doctor should be consulted.

All cancers should be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible, but it is especially important in testicular cancer. The sooner cancer is found and treated, the better the chances of complete recovery.

How To Information:

Testicular Self-Examination (TSE)

A simple procedure called testicular self-examination (TSE), undertaken just once a month, can improve the chance of finding a testicular tumor.

TSE should be performed after a warm bath or shower, because heat relaxes the scrotum and makes it easier to find anything unusual.

The National Cancer Institute recommends following these simple steps every month:

  1. Stand (without clothing) in front of a mirror. Visually check for any swelling on the skin of the scrotum.
  2. Examine each testicle with both hands. Place the index and middle fingers under the testicle with the thumbs placed on top. Roll the testicle gently between the thumbs and fingers. It's normal for one testicle to be slightly larger than the other.
  3. Locate the epididymis-a soft, tube-like structure behind the testicle. If a man is familiar with the epididymis, he won't mistake it for a suspicious lump. Cancerous lumps are usually found on the sides of the testicle, but some appear on the front.
  4. If you find a lump-or anything suspicious-see the doctor immediately. The abnormality may not be cancer, but if it is, the chances are great it can spread if not stopped by treatment. Remember that testicular cancer is highly curable when diagnosed and treated promptly.

Nice To Know:

Regularly performed testicular self-examination is important for a man's health, and shouldn't be a source of embarrassment or distress. Only a doctor can make a positive diagnosis, and a man's physician should check the testicles during a routine physical exam. This is also a good time to ask the doctor how to perform a proper testicular self-examination.

Testicular Cancer