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What are the symptoms of testicular cancer?

A number of symptoms may indicate possible testicular cancer.

Listed below are warning signs that men should be aware of:

  • A lump in either testicle; the lump typically is pea-sized, but sometimes it might be as big as a marble or even an egg.
  • Any enlargement of a testicle
  • A significant shrinking of a testicle
  • A change in the consistency of a testicle (hardness)
  • A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
  • A dull ache in the lower abdomen or in the groin
  • A sudden collection of fluid in the scrotum
  • Pain or discomfort in a testicle or in the scrotum
  • Enlargement or tenderness of the breasts

These symptoms are not sure signs of cancer, they can also be caused by other conditions. There are numerous other causes of swelling of the testis that are harmless, including:

  • Hydrocele – a collection of fluid in the scrotum.
  • Epididymitis – a swelling of the epididymis (the structure behind the testis where sperm mature) which may also cause fever and discharge from the penis.
  • Varicocele – varicose veins in the scrotum which is described as feeling like “a bag of worms”.

Inflammation of the testis can also be related to bacterial infections. Torsion of the testis occurs when a testicle rotates and the spermatic cord becomes obstructed and the blood supply is cut off. This most commonly occurs around puberty and causes excruciating pain and swelling of the testis. (If this happens, it is a surgical emergency and the patient should be rushed to an emergency room.)

It is important to see a doctor, preferably a urologist, if any of these symptoms occur — any illness should be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. Early diagnosis of testicular cancer is especially important because the sooner cancer is found and treated, the better a man’s chance for complete recovery and the easier the treatment protocol.

We realise that it may be difficult to discuss this or let yourself be examined, but it is very important. Cancer is not going to go away on its own, and neither will your concern. If you are suspicious that something is going on down there, get it checked out. You will feel better that you did, even if it turns out to be nothing serious!

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