Testicular cancer can show itself through various signs and symptoms. However, some of these symptoms may be the result of another infection that is not cancer of the testicle. Nevertheless, it is important to note any sign and symptom that might signal cancer.
Common Testicular Cancer Symptoms
Lump Or Swelling In The Testicle
An enlarged or swollen testicle is one of the first signs of testicular cancer. Nevertheless, it is normal for one testicle to be slightly larger than the other and for one to hang lower than the other. Some tumors of the testicles may cause pain, but on several occasions, there is no pain associated with swelling in the testicles. (1)
Other diseases that may cause swelling of the testicles include: (2)
- Hydrocele: This is a condition in which the testicle gets enlarged because fluid has collected around it. The lump is usually painless unless it grows too large. This pain can spread to the lower back or belly.
- Torsion of the testicle: This is a condition in which the testicles get twisted inside the scrotum. It cuts off the blood supply to the testicles, epididymis and other tissues thus resulting in sudden and severe pain in the scrotum.
- Injury: Physical injury to the testicle may cause slowly worsening pain and swelling later on as the scrotum fills with blood; a condition referred to as hematocele.
- Infection: The presence of bacteria or virus in the testicular area can lead to swelling on one side of the scrotum, pain when passing urine, fever and milky discharge from the penis.
- Other cancer types: the swelling of the testicle area may signal other kinds of cancer like prostate cancer.
Breast Growth Or Soreness
In very few occasions, germ cell tumors can make breasts grow or become sore. This happens as a result of certain germ cell tumors secrete high levels of a hormone known as human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), which stimulates the development of breasts.
Early Puberty In Boys
Some Leydig cell tumors can make androgens (male sex hormones). However, androgen-producing tumors may not cause any known cancer symptoms in men, but in boys, they can cause signs of puberty at an abnormally early age, like deepening of the voice and growth of facial and body hair.
Other Signs of Testicular Cancer
Testicular cancer in its later stage may show other signs and symptoms such as:
Low Back Pain
Pain on the lower back can be a testicular cancer symptom. It comes as a result of cancer spreading to the lymph nodes (bean-sized collections of immune cells) in the back of the belly.
This symptom occurs as a result of cancer spreading to the liver or the lymph nodes. It may cause a backache or a dull ache in the lower tummy. These lymph glands may be referred to as aortic or retroperitoneal lymph glands by your doctor.
Shortness Of Breath, Coughing, Or Chest Pain
This symptom, on the other hand, comes as a result of cancer spreading to the lungs. One may even end up coughing up blood.
Lastly, headaches come as a result of cancer metastasizing to the brain. This can also lead to confusion.
Other less common cancer symptoms include: (3)
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Unexplained weight loss
- Unexplained loss of appetite
- A swelling on the chest
- Feeling of fullness
- Bloated belly
- Alternating diarrhea and constipation
The early detection of testicular cancer can help save someone’s life. Furthermore, knowing which stage someone’s cancer is already at will help doctors determine the best treatment that should be administered to the patient. Immediately have yourself check if you see any of the symptoms above.