Cancer of the testicles, as earlier discussed in the previous article is a cancer that affects the male organ called the testicles, and it can begin from age 15 – 35 years; although it can extend to the age of 55 years depending on when it was discovered. This is why it is important for young adults (men) to pay enough attention to their body especially their testicles.
Just like all persons have different ways of interactions, the same goes for how the body reacts, that is why people with cancer of the testicles may experience different type of symptoms or signs. In some individuals with cancer of the testicles, they may not experience any form of changes or symptoms; or they may have a different medical condition that may not necessary mean they have cancer of the testicles. Sometimes, non-cancerous medical conditions such as testicle inflammation can cause symptoms that looks like cancer of the testicles. Inflammation of the testicle (known as orchitis) and inflammation of the epididymis (epididymitis) can cause swelling and pain of the testicle. Both of these also can be caused by viral or bacterial infections.
Usually, an enlarged testicle or a small lump or area of hardness are the first signs of testicular cancer. This is why lump, enlargement, hardness, pain, or tenderness should be evaluated by a medical doctor when one noticed such changes. Yet, having these symptoms does not mean that a person definitely has cancer.
Signs and Symptoms of Cancer of The Testicles
Early Stages Sign and Symptoms
Symptoms of testicular cancer often appear at an early stage, but sometimes, they do not appear until much later; and these symptoms can include:
- Lump of Swelling of the testicles. This is usually the first symptom of cancer of the testicles, where the testicles become larger or swollen. Although it is quite normal for a testicle to be slightly bigger than the other, yet it’s important to take serious attention to the largeness that may occur. When the testicles begin to swell, it may be the presence of a lump on the testicles. Some of these lumps cause pains, while don’t. If discovered in the early stages, testicular tumor may be about the size of a pea, but they can grow larger than that.
- Dull Ache in the lower abdomen. Men with the cancer of the testicles can also feel heaviness or aching in the lower part of their belly (abdomen/groin) or the scrotum.
- Several form of discomfort, pain or numbness in the testicle or scrotum, either with or without swelling.
- Breast tenderness or growth. This is a rare case, here the germ cell tumors can make hormones cause the breasts become tender (painful/sore) or grow abnormally (this condition is called gynecomastia). Also, some Leydig cell tumors can make estrogens, a female sex hormone which in turn can cause breast growth or loss of sexual desire.
- Sudden buildup of fluids in the scrotum.
- Early puberty in boys. Same way some Leydig cell make estrogens, same as they make androgens. Androgen producing tumors may not cause any form of symptoms or signs in men, but when they happen in boys, they can cause puberty at an early stage which could be abnormal. And this abnormal puberty can include facial and body hair growth, and deepening of the voice.
Advanced Cancer of The Testicles Signs and Symptoms
Whenever testicular cancer spreads to the other parts of the body, different men get different symptoms at various stages; that is why many men might not have any form of symptoms immediately when the cancer spreads. Yet, some would notice the following type of symptoms:
- Lower Back Pain. This is a sign that the cancer of the testicles may have spread to other parts of the body, especially if the cancer has spread to the nymph nodes.
- Headaches. This happens when the cancer of the testicles has spread to the brain. This cause continuous headache, and sometimes create some form of hallucination or confusion.
- Shortness of breath, chest pain, or a cough. When cancer of the testicles has spread to the lungs, men may experience shortness of breath, chest pain. Coughing of blood can also occur especially when the sputum or phlegm contains blood when they cough.
- Swelling of the belly. The moment cancer from the testicles has spread to the liver or there is an enlarged nymph node, the belly would start swelling.
- Swelling of one or both legs which could have been caused by blood clot in some vein.
Just as explained above, it is important to note that some symptoms of testicular cancer have certain similarities to non-cancerous medical conditions (that means it might not necessary be cancer of the testicles when you have these symptoms). And these symptoms include:
- Change in size or a lump in a testicle
- A cyst called a spermatocele that develops in the epididymis. The epididymis is a small organ attached to the testicle that is made up of coiled tubes that carry sperm away from the testicle.
- An enlargement of the blood vessels from the testicle called a varicocele.
- A buildup of fluid in the membrane around the testicle called a hydrocele.
- An opening in the abdominal muscle called a hernia.
- Pains or Tenderness
- Infection. Infection of the testicle is called orchitis. Infection of the epididymis is called epididymitis. If infection is suspected, a patient may be given a prescription for antibiotics. If antibiotics do not solve the problem, tests for testicular cancer are often needed.
Whenever there are concerns regarding changes noticed in the body, it is advised to seek medical advice on what steps to take, explaining all the forms of signs or symptoms noticed, and how long one might have been experiencing such symptoms. And to also help ease fears that might occur, it is best seek medical diagnosis.
[Next Article: Causes, Risk Factors and Prevention of Testicular Cancer]
References: American Cancer Society; WHO; WebMD, Cancer.net
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