8 Symptoms of Testicular Cancer

Testicular cancer is a potentially deadly disease. Although it accounts for only 1% of all cancers in males, cancer of the testis accounts for 11-13% of all cancer deaths of men between the ages of 15 and 35.

Testicular cancer has two peaks according to age. The first peak occurs before the age of 45 and accounts for about 90% of cases of testicular cancer. A second much smaller peak affects men over 50.

The first sign of testicular cancer is most commonly a little ("pea-sized") lump on the testis. There may be no real pain, at most just a dull ache in the lower abdomen or groin, perhaps a sensation of dragging and heaviness. To summarize the signs and symptoms of cancer of the testicle, they include:

  1. A lump in or on a testicle;
  2. Any enlargement of a testicle;
  3. Shrinking of a testicle;
  4. A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum;
  5. A dull ache in the lower abdomen or in the groin;
  6. A collection of fluid in the scrotum;
  7. Pain or discomfort in a testicle or in the scrotum;
  8. Enlargement or tenderness of the breasts.

The best hope for early detection of testicular cancer is a simple three-minute self-examination once a month. The ideal time for this exam is after a warm bath or shower, when the scrotal skin is most relaxed.

Each testicle is gently rolled between the thumb and fingers of both hands. If any hard lumps or nodules are felt, the man should see a doctor promptly. A lump may not be malignant, but only a doctor can make the diagnosis.

For more information, visit the Testicular Cancer Center.

Last Editorial Review: 2/19/2003