Warning Signs of Testicular Cancer

Males once they discover that they are at risk for testicular cancer will want to know what to look out for in the way of signs of the cancer. Approximately 7,000 to 8,000 males discover that they have testicular cancer each year in the U.S. with 400 of those dying from the disease. Males have a higher chance of successful treatment and remission of their cancer if the cancer is detected early, before it has a chance to spread to other organs.

At Risk

Males at special risk for testicular cancer should be especially watchful for the signs of testicular cancer. The “risk” for cancer is a tricky idea when you examine the fact that many men with testicular cancer do not have any of the risk factors stated in most medical documents such as an undescended testicle, abnormal testicle, being of light skin color, or being a male aged 15 to 35 years.

Scientists do not know what causes testicular cancer, therefore the risk factors are what scientists and researchers can determine from data gathered from those who have the disease.

Family history which means that a brother, father or male twin has testicular cancer, or males infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) have an increased risk as well as males who have already had cancer in one of their testicles.

Perhaps the best way to look at risk factors for testicular cancer is if you have testicles and are age 15 to 35, it would be a wise decision to do self-examinations to determine if you notice anything out of the ordinary about your testicles. If you do notice any hardness or lumps that are not normally there, contact your doctor for a physical examination.

The Lump

90% or more of males who make a doctor’s appointment regarding possible testicular cancer do so because of a painless lump or mass that they have felt in one of their testicles.

Another common symptom is heaviness in the scrotum or a aching in their lower abdominal area. A swelling of the scrotum is another symptom that alerts males to the possibility of cancer.

There is also the possibility that males with testicular cancer actually have no signs that anything is abnormal and present with no symptoms whatsoever. In these cases routine physicals for sports or job related reason, or examinations and tests done for fertility reasons will reveal the testicular cancer.

Tenderness

One symptom that is not commonly found, but presents in a few cases is breast tenderness caused by the abnormal secretion of HCG from certain types of testicular cancer. Even in those men in whom the cancer had already spread to other parts of the body or to other organs, only roughly 25% of them had symptoms.

This does not devalue in any way the need for self-examination; it only means that symptoms do not necessarily show until the cancer is in a more advanced stage.

Catching it in the early stage is the goal; therefore more subtle changes may be the ones being noticed. Doing self-examinations on a regular basis allows a male to know his body in a way that subtle changes are more apt to be noticed and hopefully reported in a timely fashion so that a difference can be made in the males disease outcome.