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Testicular cancer - Symptoms of testicular cancer

NHS Choices Medical Reference

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The most common symptom of testicular cancer is a lump or swelling in one of your testicles.

The lump or swelling can be about the size of a pea, but may be larger.

Most testicular lumps or swellings are not a sign of cancer. But they should never be ignored. You should visit your GP as soon as you notice a lump or swelling in one of your testicles.

Associated symptoms

    Testicular cancer can also cause other symptoms including:

  • a dull ache or sharp pain in your testicles or scrotum, which may come and go
  • a feeling of heaviness in your scrotum
  • a dull ache in your lower abdomen (stomach area)
  • a sudden collection of fluid in your scrotum (hydrocele)
  • fatigue
  • a general feeling of being unwell

When to see your GP

It is very important to visit your GP as soon as you notice any lump or swelling on your testicle.

Your GP will examine your testicles to help determine whether or not the lump is cancerous.

Research has shown that less than 4% of testicular lumps are cancerous. For example, varicoceles (swollen blood vessels) are a common cause of testicular lumps. For more information about varicoceles, read more about testicular lumps and swellings.

In the unlikely event that you do have testicular cancer, the sooner treatment begins, the greater the likelihood you will be completely cured.

If you do not feel comfortable visiting your GP, you can go to your local sexual health clinic, where a healthcare professional will be able to examine you. You can find your local clinic by visiting the Family Planning Association (FPA) website.

Metastatic cancer

If testicular cancer has spread to other parts of your body, you may also experience other symptoms. Cancer that has spread to other parts of the body is known as metastatic cancer.

Around 5% of people with testicular cancer will experience symptoms of metastatic cancer.

The most common place for testicular cancer to spread is to nearby lymph nodes in your abdomen or lungs. Lymph nodes are glands that make up your immune system. Less commonly, the cancer can spread to your liver, brain or bones.

Symptoms of metastatic testicular cancer can include:

  • a persistent cough
  • coughing or spitting up blood
  • shortness of breath
  • swelling and enlargement of male breasts
  • a lump or swelling in your neck
  • lower back pain
Medical Review: April 22, 2012
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