Testicular Cancer? When You Should See a Doctor
By the time a man hits age 50, his chances of developing testicular cancer drops to less than 1 percent.
That doesn’t mean men shouldn’t pay attention to signs and symptoms of a potential, growing health issue, says Urologist Jaschar Shakuri-Rad.
“While testicular cancer is rare, early detection is important in boosting your chances of survival,” says Dr. Shakuri-Rad. “Regular, monthly self exams should be a part of your routine, and don’t hesitate to see a doctor if you notice any developing changes.”
Most cases of testicular cancer occur in young and middle-aged men, with the average age at time of diagnosis being 33, adds Dr. Shakuri-Rad. But children and older adults are not immune and should still be aware of possible signs, especially if there’s a history of testicular cancer within the family.
Signs and Symptoms of Testicular Cancer
Most often, a painless lump or swelling is the first sign of a growing cancer, says Dr. Shakuri-Rad. But men with testicular cancer can experience other signs and symptoms, including:
- Lump (can be painful or nonpainful)
- Swelling in one or both testicles
- Aching or “heavy” feeling in lower abdomen or scrotum
- Breast growth or soreness
- Lower back pain
- Shortness of breath, chest pain or cough
- Early puberty (in pediatric cases)
When You Should See a Doctor
Some testicular cancers are caught during routine checkups or during procedures for other medical issues, such as infertility. But you shouldn’t wait for those instances to see a doctor, according to Dr. Shakuri-Rad.
All men, as early as 15-years-old, should perform regular self exams and see a doctor at the first sign of changes.
“Testicular cancer is one of the more curable cancers, if caught early,” said Dr. Shakuri-Rad. “In most cases, lumps or swelling are a result of an infection or trauma to the area—but you should always have a doctor rule out something more serious as soon as you notice symptoms.”
For information on how to do a testicular self exam, visit this guide from the American Cancer Society.