What Does Testicular Cancer Feel Like?
What does testicular cancer feel like? In the early stages, men with testicular cancer may not feel anything out of the ordinary or only experience limited symptoms. Unfortunately, men are less likely to talk with their doctor when it may be best to consult a medical professional. The lack of symptoms, coupled with an aversion to doctor visits, often allows testicular cancer to go unchecked and progress into the advanced stages when treatment is less effective. For early detection, perform regular self-checks, noting lumps, testicular pain or anything out of the ordinary.
Testicular cancer affects an estimated 9,470 men in the U.S. every year and has been on the uptrend since 1992. As of 2018, an estimated 277,698 men in the U.S. live with testicular cancer. The good news is, with early detection, testicular cancer has a high survival rate.
How Do You Know If You Have Testicular Cancer?
Testicular cancer has a few common symptoms. However, men who experience testicular pain often suffer from injury or inflammation, not cancer. Frequently, testicular cancer doesn’t cause any pain, making it hard to self-diagnose the disease.
Noting all the common symptoms of testicular cancer and consulting with a doctor for a cancer screening is the best way to diagnose the problem.
Symptoms of Testicular Cancer
The two most prominent symptoms associated with testicular cancer include a lump on one of the testicles and a swollen testicle. Other less obvious signs of testicular cancer include breast tissue growth or breast soreness and premature puberty in boys.
In the advanced stages of testicular cancer, after cancer has spread throughout the body, lower back pain, chest pain accompanied by a cough, pain in the abdomen and headaches can occur.
Self-Exam for Testicular Cancer
Since a lump on the testicle or testicular swelling is the most common testicular cancer symptom, either of these issues should be cause for concern. Additionally, a sensation of testicular heaviness or an aching sensation in the abdomen or scrotum is commonly associated with testicular cancer. However, take note that pain does not always accompany testicular cancer, so make sure you self-examine yourself for cancer.
Breast growth or breast tenderness is occasionally associated with testicular cancer. The reason for this is because testicular tumors secrete the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). Thus, with an increase in HCG circulation, breast growth is naturally induced.
Premature puberty may be associated with testicular cancer because tumors on the Leydig cells of the testicles produce androgen hormones. In addition, exposure to male sex hormones at a young age will induce puberty.
Late-Stage Testicular Cancer Symptoms
If cancer spreads from the testicles to the other parts of the body, known as metastasis, symptoms become more evident. For example, when cancer spreads to the lymph nodes, lower back pain is often a symptom.
Cancer that has spread to the lungs results in chest pain, a persistent cough and breathing issues. If cancer has spread to the liver, abdominal pain is often a symptom. Headaches or a state of confusion are often associated with cancer that has spread to the brain.
Testicular Cancer Screening
Men who experience a noticeable lump or testicular pain should schedule a testicular exam with their doctor. Catching testicular cancer at an early stage improves the prognosis. If a doctor notices any lumps or swelling, they will often order a CT scan or MRI to pinpoint any apparent anomalies.
Risk Factors for Testicular Cancer
Genetics plays a role in testicular cancer, as it does with most other types of cancer. Men who have family members with testicular cancer need to know that they have an elevated risk of developing it.
Men who suffer from an undescended testicle have higher rates of testicular cancer. Even men who have had surgery to correct the issue still have the same risks.
There are also some conditions like Klinefelter syndrome that increases the risk of testicular cancer.
Testicular cancer often affects younger men, usually between the ages of 15 and 35. However, it can affect any man at any age.
Testicular cancer may not feel like anything, as it doesn’t always present noticeable symptoms. However, in some cases, testicular soreness and a palpable lump on the testicle should result in a cancer screening and diagnosis by a doctor.
Men with a higher risk of developing testicular cancer should regularly perform a manual touch test, noting any lumps or testicular soreness.