All news 29.11.2018

Does testicular cancer have early symptoms?

Print

The most certain method for an early diagnosis are the regular appointments with an urologist and check-up examinations

Testicular tumors are relatively rare and make up to 2-3% of malignant diseases in men. Unfortunately, those tumors have been affecting younger and younger men aged 20-35. Namely because of that as part of our information campaign during Movember – the month dedicated to men’s health we have been informing about the symptoms for early diagnosis of that insidious disease.

Some of the key risk factors for testicular cancer are:

  • Testis undescended from the abdomen (criptorchidism) 
  • Genetic syndromes that affect testes (e.g.  Klinefelter’s Syndrome) 
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Trauma that causes  damage on spermatocytes and seminal vesicle
  • Chronic trauma during some sports and professions
  • Family history regarding testicular cancer
  • Men aged from 15 to 35
  • Unfortunately, the symptoms of this disease are scanty, which makes it difficult to detect it at an early stage. Some of the symptoms might not appear before having diagnosed the cancer or they can be triggered by other non-cancer conditions. Besides, the appearance of one or symptoms does not mean that the respective person has cancer.

These are the most common symptoms:

  • Enlarged testicle with or without erythema
  • Pain in the testicles
  • A lump or swelling in the testicle
  • Feeling of pulling down or heaviness in the scrotum, especially when standing up
  • Pain and enlargement of breasts
  • Mild pain in the lower part of the abdomen or groins;
  • Pain in the back, suffocation, blood mucus or purulent sputums can be later symptioms of testicular cancer;
  • Oedema in one or both legs or suffocation because of a thrombosis can be a symptom of testicular cancer.
  • Accumulation of fluids in the scrotum sack – hydrocele
  • The development of a clot in a large vein is called deep vein thrombosis or DVT. A blood clot in the lung arteries is called pulmonary embolism and causes suffocation. With some young people and middle-aged men the development of pulmonary embolism might be the first sign of testicular cancer.

Usually the first signs of testicular cancer are an enlarged testicle, a small lump or hardening in the testicles area. That is why each lump, enlargement, induration, pain or sensitivity should be checked by a physician as soon as possible.

Testicular cancer diagnosis is identified basing on the anamnesis, objective condition, clinical and paraclinical tests. The major method for an early diagnosis is the objective examination - palpation. That is why regular check-ups with urologists are so important. The check-up starts with the healthy testicle which is considered as a criterion for size, density and sensitivity. The development of a tumor in testicular tissue is characterized by the presence of irregular (rough) formations that deform the elastic surface of the testicle.

To confirm the diagnosis ecography might be needed as well as tumor marker tests - AFP & β-HCG. For the identification of the stage of the disease, contrast images are very important.

The treatment of testicular cancer depends on the stage when it was discovered. It can be surgical, through chemotherapy, and radiotherapy if needed.

Very important for the early diagnostic of testicular cancer are regular check-ups and examinations by urologist in case of the appearance of one of the above symptoms.