Symptoms and Signs of Testicular Cancer

Medical Author: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Medically Reviewed on 9/30/2021

Doctor's Notes on Testicular Cancer

Testicular cancer is an abnormal growth of malignant (cancerous) cells in the testicles or testes, which are the male reproductive organs where sperm are produced. Testicular cancer usually occurs in only one testicle. Testicular cancer can occur at any age, but it is the most common type of cancer in young men aged 15 to 35, and it is one of the most curable of all cancers.

Symptoms of testicular cancer include

  • painless swelling,
  • a lump (maybe small like pea-sized, or large like marble or bigger), or
  • pain in a testicle. The lump may be small or large. 

Less common symptoms of testicular cancer include

  • a lasting ache,
  • a sensation of heaviness in the testicle,
  • significant shrinking of a testicle,
  • the hardness of the testicle, or a dull ache or fullness in the abdomen,
  • pelvis or groin is the only symptom.

In rare cases, the first symptom of testicular cancer may be breast tenderness.

What Is the Treatment for Testicular Cancer?

The treatment of testicular cancer depends on the stage of cancer, whether it is localized or has spread (metastasized) to other areas of the body.

Treatment for testicular cancer is often multifaceted and may involve one or more of the following: 

  • Surgery to remove the affected testicle (radical inguinal orchidectomy)
  • An artificial (prosthetic) testicle may be implanted to preserve the normal appearance
  • Lymph node removal 
  • Chemotherapy
  • Combinations of chemotherapy drugs given in cycles
  • The most common combinations:
  • BEP (or PEB): bleomycin, etoposide, and cisplatin
  • EP: etoposide and cisplatin
  • VIP: VP-16 (etoposide) or vinblastine plus ifosfamide and cisplatin
  • Radiation therapy 
  • Usually used for tumors that have spread to lymph nodes or other areas in the lower abdomen

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.