The number of cases of testicular cancer has roughly doubled over the last two decades in England. It is recommended that you consult with a doctor if you notice any abnormalities, lumps, or swellings on or in your testicles. Most testicular lumps are benign (non-cancerous), but it is safer to diagnose and catch any unusual conditions as early as possible. The methods for diagnosing testicular cancer are biopsy and blood test.
Testicular cancer can develop at any age, with roughly half of all cases found in men between the ages of 20 and 34. It is one of the least common cancers, and carries a very low risk of loss of life. It is usually caught easily and can be easily treated. A painless lump in the testicle is the most common symptom of testicular cancer. In some cases the testicle may just become swollen or enlarged, with no lump. In most cases, testicular cancer does not cause pain.
If you experience sudden and severely painful swelling in one of your testicles, with scrotal swelling, nausea, vomiting or abdominal pain, you may be suffering from a condition called testicular torsion, where the blood supply to a testicle is cut off. Medical attention is urgently required in this case, in order to restore blood flow to the affected testicle. It can happen at any age, but is most common in young men age 13-17, and rare in men over 30.
There are several causes of symptoms such as testicular pain and testicular lumps, most of which are benign but should be examined and treated.
What to do next
It’s important not to ignore your symptoms. Our doctors are professional and experienced and you should not feel embarrassed about getting checked out.
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It is a good idea to give yourself regular examinations to keep tabs on any abormalities or changes to your testicles. It is best to perform the examination when you are warm and relaxed, such as after a bath or shower. Examine one testicle at a time, roll it gently between thumb and fingers. The more you do this, the better you will be able to notice anything out of the ordinary.
Not all lumps are an indication of cancer, and indeed most of them are benign. They occur in men of all ages, including teenagers. A fluid-filled lump is usually less cause for concern than a firm, solid one, but in all cases of a testicular lump or swelling, you need to see a doctor to be sure.
Clinical examination is the only way to know for sure what is causing testicular lumps. Possible causes include cysts or hydroceles (fluid gathering around the testicle), or inflammation (sometimes from torsion or infection). In rare cases, testicular lumps are signs of cancer.