The testicles are highly sensitive and can be affected by other conditions and diseases in the body. The symptoms of testicular cancer often resemble symptoms from a range of other conditions, so a patient should see a doctor to confirm their diagnosis.
Signs and Symptoms
The most obvious sign of testicular cancer is a lump or mass that forms on one or both testicles. This lump is almost always painless but can be uncomfortable. Swelling, pain, and tenderness are other early symptoms. Some men also complain of a dull ache or discomfort in their lower abdomen.
Unfortunately, the symptoms of early and advanced cancer are very similar, which can make early detection difficult. Some patients with advanced forms of cancer experience pain in their lower back or stomachs as the cancer moves to the lymph nodes.
Other Forms of Testicular Cancer
Testicular cancer can also form in the stroma, the tissue that produces hormones, in the testicles. These tumors are called gonadal stromal tumors; they are much rarer than the tumors that develop in the testicles themselves. Leydig cell and Sertoli cell are the 2 main types of gonadal stromal tumors:
- Leydig cell: Develops in the cells that make male hormones.When tumors develop in the estrogen-producing cells,the patient may experience a loss of sex drive or breast growth as a result. When tumors develop in the androgen-producing cells, men may not have any symptoms, but younger boys may experience rapid facial and body hair growth at an early age.
- Sertoli cell: These tumors form in Sertoli cells, which supportthe body’s sperm-producing cells. When a tumor forms, it does not produce hormones. The most obvious symptom is a lump on the testicles.