Testicular Cancer: Expert details main sign and symptoms
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The main symptom of testicular cancer is a lump in one of the testicles; this is normally about the size of a pea, but may be bigger.
However, there are other signs to look out for, including a “feeling of heaviness in your scrotum”, says the NHS.
Other signs include an increase in firmness of one of the testicles, a difference in appearance between one testicle and the other.
Furthermore, some cis-men may experience a dull ache or sharp pain in their testicles or scrotum, this pain may come and go, or be something else entirely if it isn’t cancer.
What else can it be?
Sometimes pain in the testicles can be caused by non-cancerous factors such as stress.
The NHS writes: “Lumps and swellings in the testicles can have lots of different causes. Most are caused by something harmless, such as a build-up of fluid (cyst) or swollen veins in the testicles (varicocele).”
When should I see a GP?
It is recommended that you see a GP if one notices a swelling, lump, or any other change in one of the testicles.
While testicular cancer is rare, it is still worth getting checked, and while the survival rate is high, not everyone has been so lucky.
Gunnar Nilsson was a promising young Swedish racing driver; during the 1977 Formula One season driving for Team Lotus he had won the Belgian Grand Prix.
This was to be the only win of his career, during a routine medical check-up during the off season in December 1977, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer.
From this point on his health deteriorated as he underwent an intense course of radiotherapy; but it was not enough.
Knowing he didn’t have long to live, he put all his efforts into setting up a cancer foundation, and he died in October 1978, just a few weeks after his compatriot Ronnie Peterson had died in an accident at the Italian Grand Prix.
One of the reasons Nilsson died was because the cancer had metastasised; this means it had spread to other parts of his body.
On metastatic cancer, the NHS says: “If testicular cancer has spread to other parts of your body, you may also experience other symptoms. Cancer that’s spread to other parts of the body is known as metastatic cancer.
“Around five percent of people with testicular cancer will experience symptoms of metastatic cancer. The most common place for testicular cancer to spread to is nearby lymph nodes in your tummy (abdomen) or lungs. Lymph nodes are glands that make up your immune system.”
Symptoms of metastatic testicular cancer include:
• A persistent cough
• Coughing or spitting up blood
• Shortness of breath
• Swelling and enlargement of male breasts
• A lump or swelling in the neck
• Lower back pain.
Testicular and other male cancers will be closer to the surface of the public’s consciousness as the nation approaches November, also known as Movember, when men around the country grow moustaches for charity.
It is an opportunity for men to raise awareness of cancers which affect men, including prostate cancer, the most common form of the disease in men. Raising awareness of cancer in men is important as some are unlikely to come forward if something is wrong.
The more the stigma around male health, both mental and physical, can be evaporated, the more men that will have their cancers diagnosed at earlier stages when they are more treatable.
To put into context how deadly some cancers can be, one man dies every 45 minutes from prostate cancer.
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