Testicular Cancer

Testicular cancer is of special concern to younger men. It generally occurs after age 15. It is less common in middle-aged and older men. Fifteen years ago, testicular cancer was often fatal because it spread throughout the body (metastasized) to vital organs such as the brain and lung. Today, due to treatment advances, testicular cancer is one of the most curable cancers. Early diagnosis and treatment significantly improves long term survival.

The most common symptom of testicular cancer is a small, painless lump in a testicle, or a slightly enlarged/firm testicle. It is important for men to become familiar with the size and feeling of their normal testicles, so that they can detect changes if they occur.

Other possible symptoms include a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum, a dull ache in the lower abdomen or groin, a change in the way a testicle feels, or a sudden accumulation of blood or fluid in the scrotum. Not all these symptoms or signs are unique to testicle cancer, and may reflect other conditions like infection or trauma. Urologists are prepared to tell you if you have a cancer and what the proper treatment should be.

A simple procedure called testicular self-exam (TSE) can increase the chances of finding a tumor early. Men should perform TSE once a month, usually within the warm shower. The heat causes the scrotal skin to relax, making it easier to detect any subtle changes to the testicle or surrounding structures. TSE is simple and takes just a few minutes.

  • Examine each testicle gently with both hands. The index and middle finger should be placed underneath the testicle while the thumbs are placed on top. Roll the testicle gently between the thumb and fingers. One testicle may be larger than the other, which could be normal if no difference in texture in noted.
  • The epididymis is a cord-like structure on the top and back of the testicle that stores and transports the sperm. Do not confuse the epididymis with an abnormal testicular lump.
  • Feel for any abnormal lumps, pea-sized or larger on the front of the testicle. These are usually painless lumps.

If a testicle lump is detected, notifying your physician promptly is advisable. Urologic evaluation will often be necessary to determine the cause of the testicular lump and any necessary treatment. If you are concerned then call for an appointment at Central Arizona Urologists today.

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