Testicular cancer is a highly curable cancer that develops in the testicles. Typically, this cancer develops in one or both testicles in young men, but it can occur in older men as well and in rare case, in younger boys. The odds for getting testicular cancer are estimated to be about 1 in 200, with 80,000 cases being diagnosed each year in the United States alone. Although testicular cancer is considered to be rare, it is the most common cancer in American males between the ages of 15 and 35. Knowing the signs of testicular cancer will help with early detection of this problematic disease. Great news is that testicular cancer is notable for having among the highest cure rates among all cancers. It has an average five year survival rate as high as 99%, depending on how early it is detected.
Symptoms of testicular cancer
You can’t be sure you have testicular cancer from just symptoms, so it’s important to see a health care provider as soon as possible about any testicular symptoms that concern you.
- The most common symptom of testicular cancer is a painless lump on or in a testicle.
- 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 don’t. Men with testicular cancer may also have a heavy or aching feeling in the lower belly or scrotum.
- Breast growth or soreness: Rarely, 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 affect the breasts.
- Signs of early puberty in boys: Some testicular cancers make 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, at an early age.
Symptoms of advanced testicular cancer
Testicular cancer that has spread beyond the testicles and regional lymph nodes to other organs may cause other symptoms depending on the area of the body affected. Symptoms of late-stage testicular cancer may include:
- Dull pain in the lower back and belly.
- Lack of energy, sweating for no clear reason, fever, or a feeling of illness.
- Shortness of breath, coughing, or chest pain.
- Headache or confusion.
There can be some overlap of symptoms and signs between advanced and early testicular cancer in some people. Also, many symptoms listed above may occur with other diseases. Consequently, individuals should seek medical providers to get a diagnosis. After you are diagnosed with testicular cancer, you and your doctor will begin planning your treatment. Nearly all men with testicular cancer have surgery. After surgery, you may have other treatments, if they are needed. This depends on your choices, the type of cells involved, and the stage of your cancer. Testicular cancer is one of the most curable forms of cancer, especially during its early stages. If you have symptoms of testicular cancer, see a doctor as soon as possible.