The testes are a pair of important parts of the male reproductive system. They generate sperms, and more importantly, testosterone, the male sex hormone that is responsible for the healthy development of sexual urge and sexual performance in men. Testosterone is also responsible for the healthy development and maintenance of other factors associated with male vitality. Testicular cancer refers to malignancy in the testicular cells.
Testicular cancer is seen to affect only 1 percent of American males till date, with the average target age group being 15-34 years. Genetic factors seem to be the major causal factor of this disease. Most often testicular cancer is self-detected. Men visit their physicians to confirm the symptoms of testicular cancer.
Signs And Symptoms Of Testicular Cancer
Lumps In The Testicles
A painless swelling or lump in the testicle is one of the primary symptoms of testicular cancer. However, not all testicular lumps or swellings are cancerous. Most often the bumpiness in testicles is due to the blood vessels, the epididymis, supporting tissue and sperm carriers present in the testes.
However, at the same time, you should not ignore a painless lump or swelling, but get it examined by your physician. Germ cell tumors lead to lumps in the testes.
Large And Tender Male Breasts
Germ cell tumors sometimes lead to enlargement and tenderness in breasts in males. HCG (human chorionic gonadotrophin) secreted by the germ cell tumors is responsible for this development in the breasts of males.
Painful Testes Or Scrotum
Though severe pain is rare, cancerous testes may feel painful or uncomfortable. At times, the pain or discomfiture may be in the scrotum. Generally, this condition may be mistaken for an infection treatable by antibiotics.
However, pain caused by testicular cancer does not improve with antibiotic treatment. An ultrasonic testing is done for the painful scrotum to diagnose if cancer is the causal factor of the tumor.
Lack Of Sexual Desire
Gonadal stromal tumors (a type of testicular cancer) are of two types- Leydig and Sertoli cell tumors. Normal Leydig cells make estrogen and testosterone, the female and male sex hormones respectively. Leydig cell tumors produce estrogen abnormally, thereby resulting in the growth of breasts and a reduced sex drive in men.
Lower Back Or Belly Pain
Lower back or belly pain is caused by advanced testicular cancer, when it has probably spread to the posterior abdominal lymph nodes. The lymph nodes are small bean-shaped structures that are enlarged when affected by cancer.
Headaches And Confusion
Testicular cancer rarely affects the brain, but the chances cannot be ruled out. One may have headaches or may have feelings of confusion when the cancer proliferates to the brain.
Shortness Of Breath, Chest Pain And Cough
Though shortness of breath, chest pain and cough are unlikely to make one suspect testicular cancer as the causal factor, surprisingly, this cancer can give rise to these symptoms in an advanced stage when it affects the lungs. The patients may also discharge blood when coughing at this stage.