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Five Common Signs of Testicular Cancer

March 31, 2017

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Testicular cancer can develop in one or both testicles. These organs, which produce sperm and male hormones, are located within the scrotum. Part of the male reproductive system, the scrotum is a loose pouch of skin located underneath the penis.

Although testicular cancer is considered to be relatively uncommon, it is still the most frequently diagnosed type of cancer in American males between the ages of 15 and 35. Therefore, it is important for all boys and men to learn to identify the warning signs. Take an opportunity to do so during the month of April, which has been designated as Testicular Cancer Awareness Month as an educational initiative by the Testicular Cancer Society.

Knowing the signs of testicular cancer can improve the likelihood of detecting the condition in its earliest stages, when more treatment options are generally available. This is especially important because testicular cancer is usually considered to be highly curable. Here are the five most common signs to watch for:

  1. A painless lump, swelling or enlargement of one or both testes
  2. Pain or heaviness in the scrotum
  3. A dull ache or pressure in the groin, abdomen or low back
  4. A general feeling of malaise, including unexplained fatigue, fever, sweating, coughing, shortness of breath or mild chest pains
  5. Headache and confusion

In boys, testicular cancer can also cause early signs of puberty, such as accelerated voice deepening and the growth of facial and body hair.

At Moffitt Cancer Center, we recommend that males perform regular self-examinations of their testicles, which can make it easier to notice any changes as soon as they occur. In fact, most testicular cancers are found by men themselves or a partner; few are initially detected by physicians.

To perform a self-examination, check each testicle using both hands. The index and middle fingers should be positioned underneath the testicle, with the thumbs on top. Then, gently but firmly roll the testicle between the thumbs and fingers to feel for any irregularities in its surface or texture. It’s best to perform a self-exam during or right after a warm shower or bath, which can help to relax the scrotum.

If you’d like to learn more about testicular cancer, call Moffitt Cancer Center at 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form online to request an appointment with a specialist in our Genitourinary Oncology Program. We do not require referrals.