Cancer of the testicle is one of the less common cancers and tends to only affect men between 15 and 49 years of age.
Typical symptoms are a painless swelling or lump in one of the testicles, or any change in shape or texture of the testicles. The swelling or lump can be about the size of a pea but also may be larger, but it is important to remember that lumps and swellings in the testicles (balls) aren’t usually caused by anything serious, but you should get them checked by a Doctor! – Early diagnosis is the best treatment.
What are the signs of testicular cancer?
The early signs of testicular cancer are easy to spot. Look out for one or more of the following:
• A hard lump on the front or side of a testicle
• Swelling or enlargement of a testicle
• An increase in firmness of a testicle
• Pain or discomfort in a testicle or in the scrotum (the sac that holds the testicles)
• An unusual difference between one testicle and the other
If you find a lump or swelling, or any of the above signs, it’s important to get it checked out by your doctor.
Lumps in the testicles can be a sign of testicular cancer although an estimated 4 in 100 lumps are cancer, so this is an uncommon cause of lumps. This is easier to treat if it’s found early.
What should my testicles look and feel like?
Most men’s testicles are about the same size, though it’s common for one to be slightly bigger than the other. It’s also common for one testicle to hang lower than the other.
The testicles should feel smooth, without any lumps or bumps, and firm but not hard. You may feel a soft tube at the back of each testicle, which is called the epididymis.
If you notice any changes or anything unusual about your testicles, you should see your Doctor.
What causes lumps and swelling in the testicles?
There are several causes of testicular lumps and swellings:
• Varicocele – caused by enlarged veins in the testicles (may look like a bag of worms)
• Hydrocele – a swelling caused by fluid around the testicle
• Epididymal Cyst – a lump caused by a collection of fluid in the epididymis
• Testicular Torsion – a sudden painful swelling that occurs when a testicle becomes twisted (this condition should be regarded as a medical emergency)
• Epididymitis – a chlamydia infection in the epididymis can cause inflammation, swelling and tenderness inside the scrotum (ball sack); a few men will notice that the whole of the scrotum is red and tender (this is called epididymo-orchitis)
It’s important to be aware of what feels normal for you. Get to know your body and see your GP if you notice any changes.
Content adapted from https://www.nhs.uk