Although testicular cancer is relatively rare, affecting just 1 in 263 American males, testicular tumors are on the increase. Testicular cancer usually affects younger men, so if you are in your 20s, 30s, or 40s, you should be aware of the possible symptoms of testicular cancer. While many testicular lumps are harmless, if a testicle lump does turn out to be cancerous, treatment for testicular cancer is highly effective.
The most obvious symptom of a testicular tumor is a lump in one of your testicles. Although testicular pain is usually absent, as these tumors are typically painless, you may experience feelings of heaviness or aching in your scrotum or lower abdomen. Sometimes a testicular cancer lump isn’t present and you may develop a swollen or enlarged testicle instead. However, scrotal pain and testicular swelling and enlargement are not always a sign of testicular cancer. If you find a lump on your testicle or notice any other abnormalities, your best course of action is to get your doctor to perform an examination.
Other Testicular Cancer Symptoms
Besides testicular signs of cancer, you may notice changes in other areas of your body. Rarely, men may develop swollen or sore breast tissue due to an increase in hormones responsible for breast growth. You may also experience reduced libido. Testicular tumors that increase levels of male sex hormones can trigger early puberty, so young boys may develop a deeper voice, as well as facial and body hair, at a younger age than expected.
Advanced Signs of Testicular Cancer
If you miss the early signs of testicular cancer, the tumor can spread. When testicular cancer metastasizes, you can expect to develop symptoms specific to where the cancerous cells migrate. For instance, if testicular cancer reaches your lymph nodes, you may notice lower back pain. Alternatively, stomach pain can indicate liver involvement. Meanwhile, if you have lung metastases, you would expect to have breathlessness, chest pain, and a cough. In cases where testicular cancer spreads to your brain, headaches and confusion are common.
Early Diagnosis is Key
In honor of Men’s Health Month, understanding common signs of testicular cancer allows you to consult with your doctor if you develop any worrying symptoms, which gives you the best chance of a good outcome. Although testicular tumors are easily treated, close to 400 Americans die each year from testicular cancer. As with any type of cancer, early diagnosis is the key.