Testicular Cancer

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When detected early, testicular cancer is highly treatable and usually curable, which is why early diagnosis and treatment are so important for men of all ages. Adolescent boys and young men should be particularly aware of the signs and symptoms of the disease and perform regular testicular self-exams.

Testicular cancer is a disease in which cells become malignant, meaning cancerous, in one or both of the testicles. Testicular cancer can be broadly classified into two types: seminoma and nonseminoma. Seminomas make up about 40 percent of all testicular cancers. Nonseminomas are a group of cancers that include choriocarcinoma, embryonal carcinoma, teratoma and yolk sac tumors. A testicular cancer may have a combination of both types.

 

Most men can detect their own testicular cancers. Doctors generally examine the testicles during routine physical exams. Between regular checkups, if you notice anything unusual about your testicles, you should talk with your doctor.

Common symptoms include:

  • A painless lump or swelling in either testicle
  • Any enlargement of a testicle or change in the way it feels
  • A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
  • A dull ache in the lower abdomen or the groin
  • A sudden collection of fluid in the scrotum
  • Pain or discomfort in a testicle or in the scrotum
Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.