What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Testicular Cancer?

Most cases of testicular cancer are found by patients themselves and 70% of these are at an early stage — before the cancer has spread beyond the testicle. Some cases of testicular cancer are discovered through scans or testing for infertility. Knowing your body and recognizing any new or abnormal symptom is important to detecting testicular cancer early.

See your physician if you experience any of the following:

  • Swelling, pain or discomfort in the scrotum
  • A lump or swelling in either testicle
  • Pain or discomfort in a testicle
  • A change in how a testicle feels
  • A dull ache or heaviness in your lower abdomen or groin

A number of noncancerous conditions such an injury, infection or a cyst may cause these symptoms as well. However, any testicular abnormality should be assessed with an ultrasound.

Testicular cyst

A testicular cyst (or spermatocele) is a fluid-filled nodule that forms in the epididymis, the long, coiled tube located behind each testicle through which sperm passes. This type of cyst is usually painless and feels like a smooth, firm lump in the scrotum on top of a testicle. Testicular cysts are not dangerous, do not affect fertility and generally do not need treatment unless they become painful or cause embarrassment. Such cysts are common; as many as 30% of cisgender men will develop one during their lifetime. However, any lump in the scrotum or testicle should be evaluated promptly by a physician and ultrasound exam.

How is testicular cancer diagnosed?