Symptoms

Is there something strange going on downstairs? Do you think there might be a party going on in your testicles? Never Fear! Oneball is here! If you are experiencing any of the below symptoms, be sure to see your doctor as soon as possible. Common symptoms include:

  • A painless lump or swelling on either testicle. It can be tiny or grow very large.
  • One testicle becoming more firm or feeling different than the other testicle.
  • Pain or discomfort (with or without swelling) in a testicle or scrotum.
  • The feeling of heaviness in the scrotum.
  • Dull ache in the lower abdomen or groin.
  • Sudden buildup of fluid in the scrotum.
  • Breast tenderness or growth. Some rare testicular tumors produce hormones that cause breast tenderness or growth of breast tissue (a condition called gynecomastia).
  • Lower back pain, shortness of breath, chest pain and bloody sputum (phlegm) can be symptoms of advanced testicular cancer.

This is by no means an exhaustive list and many
of these symptoms could represent other conditions!

Diagnosis

SELF-DIAGNOSIS

Feeling ballsy? There's never a bad time to show your balls some love! I mean, think of how much they do for you? (DISCLAIMER: Yes, there are actually plenty of bad times, use your judgement).

Check out our handy (get it?) guide to loving your balls and checking them for testicular cancer:

Quick note!

The Epididymis (the site of sperm storage and maturation) is commonly mistaken for an abnormal lump. This structure sits on top and behind the testicle, is a spot for sperm to mature fully and should not be confused as a tumor.  If you have questions about this, see your oncology team.

Imaging tests

A variety of scans, such as Ultrasounds, Computed Tomography (CT) scans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans and X-Rays can be used to detect the presence of cancer in the body. Ultrasounds are typically the most common way of detecting cancer within the testicle. X-rays are used to detect cancer that has spread to the lungs. Bone scans may be used to see if the testicular cancer has spread to the bones. The use and frequency of these tests is determined by the oncology team involved in the patient’s care.

A Computed Tomography (CT) Scanning Machine Photo courtesy of www.nursingcrib.com

A Computed Tomography (CT) Scanning Machine

Photo courtesy of www.nursingcrib.com

 

Blood Tests

A blood test can indicate and diagnose testicular growths. Tumor markers are proteins that are produced by the body in response to the cancer, or by the cancer itself. Elevated tumor markers can indicate abnormal cell growth or tumor development. AFP, bHCG and LDH in the bloodstream are all tumor markers that can suggest cancerous growth. Elevations in these markers can also indicate a list of other possible conditions that are non-cancerous. While some germ cell tumors do not produce these tumor markers, a positive blood test for any of the three markers indicates that other tests should be taken to ensure the correct diagnosis. Blood tests are also done after the removal of the testicular tumor to determine if the cancer has been removed entirely from the body. Recurring blood marker tests indicate if there is a relapse and the need for further treatment. Not all testicular cancers secrete these markers. If tumor markers are elevated at the time of diagnosis or not, will not influence the staging or outcome. It simply means there is another tracking mechanism to use. Even if patients do not have an elevation in tumor markers at their initial diagnosis, guidelines suggest there is utility in continued monitoring.

Blood tests can track a number of different markers which help indicate a tumor's growth Photo courtesy of www.digitaltrends.com

Blood tests can track a number of different markers which help indicate a tumor's growth

Photo courtesy of www.digitaltrends.com