10 Warning Signs of Testicular Cancer

drkmh 10 Warning Signs of Testicular Cancer


The good news about Testicular Cancer is that it is highly curable. It can be successfully treated in 95% of the cases.

Testicular Cancer is not one of the most common types of cancers. It affects 1 in every 250 males between the ages of 15 to 35. In its early stages testicular cancer is highly treatable, and since a simple home-examination of the testicles can help detect the tumour, being alert to changes in the organ is the first step towards fighting the condition.


The testicles are two oval shaped organs located in the scrotum (the sac-like organ that lies below the penis) in the male reproductive system. They perform the vital function of producing testosterone and making the sperm. Hence maintaining good testicular health is essential for a healthy sex drive and for male fertility.




When malignant cancer-causing cells develop in one or both (rarely) testicles, it is termed testicular cancer. 90% of all testicular cancers are caused in the germ cells that clump together to form a tumour. Testicular cancer can be broadly categorised into two types:


  • Seminoma – This is slow growing cancer affecting men aged 40 to 50.
  • Non-seminoma – This is a fast-growing cancer and affects males in their late teens, 20s and early 30s. non-seminoma tumours include embryonal carcinoma, yolk sac carcinoma, choriocarcinoma and teratoma.



It is important to observe the change in shape, size and/or texture of the testicles, in order to be able to catch cancer at its earliest stages. If any swelling or pain lasts for more than a week, its best to get a doctor’s opinion. Some symptoms of testicular cancer are listed below.


  • A lump on either of the testicles is the most common symptom
  • A Swollen Scrotum, whether painful or not, is a sure sign of some infection.
  • Fluid collection in the scrotum is another warning sign
  • Shrinking of a testicle (testicular atrophy)
  • A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
  • Pain or discomfort in the scrotum or testicle
  • Dull persistent pain in the groins
  • Nagging pain and discomfort in the low abdomen and/or lower back
  • Breast tenderness or swelling. This is because in some cases testicular tumours cause the secretion of hormones that cause breast tenderness and growth.
  • Swelling of 1 or both legs, and shortness of breath due to a blood clot can also be indicative of Testicular cancer.



One can run a physical examination on his own at home, periodically to check for any changes in the testicles. The best time to do the self-exam is during or after a bath when the skin of the scrotum is relaxed. Hold the penis of the way and examine each testicle individually. The ideal way to check would be to hold the testicle between the thumbs and fingers of both hands and gently roll it between the fingers. This will help feel any changes in the shape, size, or texture of the testicle. Even small lumps can be felt this way. Any significant change/ abnormality that lasts for more than a week needs to be checked by the doctor. It is also important to understand that:


  • – It’s normal for one testicle to be slightly bigger than the other
  • – It’s normal for one testicle to hang lower
  • – Swelling of the testicles or scrotum, and even the presence of a lump, do not always mean cancer. It could be some other infection. Either way, getting a doctor’s opinion is imperative.



Treatment for cancer of any kind largely depends on the extent of the disease – as in what stage it is in. In most cases of Testicular cancer, the first line of treatment is Surgery in which the infected testicle is surgically removed. Blood vessels and lymphatic tissue from the cancer site will be closed off to prevent spread of the tumour. Surgery is most often followed by either Radiotherapy or Chemotherapy as a precautionary measure to kill any residual cancerous cells that may spread to other parts of the body.


The good news about Testicular Cancer is that it is highly curable. It can be successfully treated in 95% of the cases. When treated early, the success rate is 98%. Regular Self-exams and screening tests for testicular cancer can keep you ahead of the disease.


Dr. J. Surendran is the best surgical oncologist in Chennai
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