Testicular cancer accounts for 1.2 percent of all cancers in males. According to the American Cancer Society, one in every 263 men will develop the illness at some point during their life. The average age of diagnosis is 33. Out of the 8,850 new cases predicted for 2017, seven percent will affect adolescents. Most patients are young to middle-aged men. Testicular cancer is usually curable if detected at an earlier stage. You should complete a simple self-exam once a month. Early detection is the first step to successful recovery.
Painless Lump in the Testicle
The most common symptom of testicular cancer is a lump in one or both testicles. It may start out as a small painless pea-sized lump. As the cancer cells develop and spread, the lump will change and grow, too. If you notice an unusual growth, make sure you visit your physician immediately for a medical exam and diagnosis.
Swelling of the Testicle or Scrotum
Noticeable swelling of the testicle is another sign of testicular cancer. Swollen testicles are abnormal. Cancer in one testis is easier to detect because of unilateral enlargement. Monitor your symptoms and report them to your family doctor as soon as possible. He or she will request additional tests to determine the cause of the swelling.
Shrinking of a Testicle
Just as the testicle can swell from cancer, it can also decrease in size. Although this is less common, the shrinking of a testicle should not be neglected. Your doctor may question the size during a routine physical. Blood tests, ultrasounds, and CT scans are used to confirm a diagnosis. Even though testicular cancer is rare, the illness is the single most common cancer among younger men.
Testicles make and store sperm. The organs are located below the penis in a pouch called the scrotum. Most testicular cancers begin in sperm-producing cells known as germ cells. The two most common types are seminomas and non-seminomas. The latter of these spreads quickly. Patients often notice a heavy feeling in the scrotum. Seek medical attention right away if you notice any of these symptoms.
The groin area will generally be involved in testicular cancer. You may notice a dull ache in the lower abdomen and minor pain. Consult with your doctor about your condition. In some cases, testicular cancer requires surgery. Removing a testicle does not interfere with sexual encounters nor does it cause long-term sexual problems. Treatments may lead to infertility. Discussing options with your physician is critical. You can save sperm if you want to have children in the future.
A buildup of Fluid in the Scrotum
In some cases of testicular cancer, a hydrocele may form in the scrotum. A hydrocele is a build-up of clear fluids in the scrotum. It develops as a thin-walled sack and can be located on one or both sides. Swelling and pain may also be present. This condition usually resolves spontaneously unless it is associated with a cancerous tumor. Epididymitis is another painful condition in which the tube-like structure located in the back of the testicle becomes inflamed and swollen following a bacterial or sexually transmitted infection. Differentiating from a testicular tumor during a medical exam is easy.
Testicular or Scrotum Pain
Patients may suffer from discomfort or pain as the disease progresses. This sensation can occur in the testicle and scrotum. Not all aches are from testicular cancer. In fact, not all lumps found in the testicles are cancerous tumors. Testicular microlithiasis, epididymal cysts, and appendix testis are other conditions that cause pain in these areas. None of these ailments are cancerous. Your doctor can diagnose and treat your painful symptoms.
Enlargement or Tenderness of the Breasts
Affected patients may also experience enlargement or tenderness in the breasts. This symptom is often ignored and is also present with other ailments. If the discomfort continues or lasts longer than a week, you should consult with your doctor. You should learn the necessary three-minute self-examination to monitor your body for further symptoms.
Lower Back Pain
As untreated testicular cancer spreads, it moves to other areas of the body. The peritoneum is the layer of thin tissue that lines the abdomen and covers organs such as the bowel and liver. The peritoneum shields the organs from infections. Cancer cells can cross this barrier and invade the structures beyond the peritoneum, causing lower back pain.
Enlarged or Swollen Lymph Nodes
As with any cancer, the lymph nodes often become enlarged and swollen. Enlarged lymph nodes are therefore a sign of an advanced stage of cancer. Other organs may be affected by the metastasized cancer. Late-stage testicular cancer symptoms include swollen lymph nodes and dull pain in the lower back and belly area. A lack of energy, shortness of breath, coughing and chest pain, headache, and confusion are also associated with this disease.