November 2020

Know the Signs: How to Spot Testicular Cancer

In 2020, about 9,600 U.S. men were diagnosed with testicular cancer. Unlike many other types of cancer where your risk climbs as you age, testicular cancer is most likely to strike when you’re in the prime of your life. The average age of men diagnosed with testicular cancer is only 33 years old. Still, it can occur at any age—in children and the elderly—so it’s important to know the warning signs.

The cancer you can feel

With testicular cancer, some men can spot the signs early on just by touch. Often, the first symptom men experience is a change in a testicle. You may feel a lump, or the testicle may be swollen or larger than normal. 

Get to know what’s normal and healthy for you. That way, it’s easier to identify something that doesn’t feel right. If you find any changes or have concerns, contact your healthcare provider immediately. Currently, there’s no standard recommendation for self-exams, but feeling each testicle monthly to check for any hard lumps or bumps is a good idea. Your provider should also check your testicles as part of a routine physical exam.

Know your risk

There are a few risk factors that may increase your chances of developing testicular cancer. These include:

  • Undescended testicle(s)

  • A family history of testicular cancer—your father or a brother had it

  • HIV or AIDS

  • Previous diagnosis of cancer in the other testicle

  • Race and ethnicity—it’s more common in white men than Black and Asian American men

Currently, most cases of testicular cancer can’t be prevented. The best thing you can do is know your body, visit your healthcare provider for routine exams, and contact your provider if you notice anything that’s unusual for you. Additional tests, such as an ultrasound, can determine whether you have a tumor.



Online Medical Reviewer: Kenneth Mukamal, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Ray Turley, BSN, MSN
Date Last Reviewed: 10/1/2020
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