Do I Have Testicular Cancer?

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Possible symptoms of testicular cancer

You can’t be sure you have testicular cancer based on symptoms alone, so it’s important to see a doctor about any testicular symptoms that concern you. Don’t wait.

Symptoms in the testicles

The most common symptom of testicular cancer is a painless lump on a testicle. Sometimes the testicle may become swollen or larger, without a lump. (It’s normal for one testicle to be slightly larger than the other, and for one to hang lower than the other.) Some testicular tumors might cause pain, but most of the time they do not. Men with testicular cancer may also have a heavy or aching feeling in the lower belly or scrotum.

Each normal testicle has an epididymis, a small, coiled tube that can feel like a small bump on the upper or middle outer side of the testicle. Normal testicles also contain blood vessels, supporting tissues, and tubes that carry sperm. All these things can feel bumpy, and sometimes men confuse these normal structures with cancer. If you have any doubts, ask a doctor.

Symptoms in other parts of the body

Breast growth or soreness: In rare cases, testicular cancers can cause men’s breasts to grow or become sore. This is because certain types of testicular cancer can make high levels of hormones that develop the breasts. Some men might also notice a loss of sexual desire.

Early signs of puberty in boys: Some testicular cancers make androgens (male sex hormones). This may not cause any specific symptoms in men, but in boys it can cause signs of puberty, such as a deepening of the voice and the growth of facial and body hair, abnormally early.

Symptoms of testicular cancer that has spread (advanced cancer)

If testicular cancer is not found early, it can spread to other parts of the body. Even when testicular cancer has spread, many men still have no symptoms. But some men might have some of the following symptoms:

  • If the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes (bean-sized collections of immune cells) in back of the belly, they can grow larger and press on nearby structures, which might cause low back pain.
  • If the cancer has spread to the lungs, problems like shortness of breath, chest pain, or a cough (even coughing up blood) may develop.
  • Some cancers might cause belly pain, either from enlarged lymph nodes or because it has spread to the liver.
  • In rare cases, testicular cancer spreads to the brain and can cause headaches or confusion.

Last Medical Review: 11/05/2013
Last Revised: 11/05/2013