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April is Testicular Cancer Awareness Month

This week, the doctors and staff and Blue Hills would like to focus on Testicular Cancer.

Testicular cancer is rare, but it is the most common type of cancer in American males between the ages of 15 and 44. About 1 out of every 250 males will develop testicular cancer at some point in their lifetime. However, if detected early, testicular cancer is over 95% curable.

Testicular cancer occurs in the testicles which is located in the scrotum. The scrotum is a loose bag of skin underneath the penis. It is more commonly referred to as “balls”. The testicles play an important role in reproduction as it produces male sex hormones and sperm.

Cancer usually affects only one testicle. Germ cell tumors make up over 90% of testicular cancer diagnoses. Germ cells have the potential to form any cell in the body. Normally these cells lie dormant until sperm fertilizes an egg. If these germ cells become cancerous, they multiply - forming a mass of cells also known as a tumor. Like many other types of cancers, testicular cancers can metastasize, which means it can spread to other parts of the body, forming new tumors. It is important to detect testicular cancer before this happens as it is more difficult to treat.

Types of Testicular Cancers:

  • Seminoma Germ Cell Tumors

  • Nonseminoma Germ Cell Tumors

  • Stromal Tumors

Germ cell tumors make up over 90% of testicular diagnoses. Seminoma and Nonseminoma each occur about half of the time. Stromal tumors account for about 4% of adult testicle tumors and 20% of childhood testicle tumors. The Testicular Cancer Awareness Foundation explains each type of cancer in depth - click here to learn more.

Common signs and symptoms of testicular cancer include:

  • a lump or enlargement in either testicle

  • a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum

  • a dull ache in the abdomen or groin

  • a sudden collection of fluid in the scrotum

  • pain or discomfort in a testicle or the scrotum

  • enlargement or tenderness of the breasts

  • back pain

Risk factors:

  • an undescended testicle the testes form in the abdominal area - during fetal development and usually descend into the scrotum before birth. Men that have an undescended testicle are at a greater risk of developing testicular cancer than men whose testicles descended normally. Still, a majority of men when testicular cancer don’t have a history of undescended testes.

  • abnormal testicle development

  • family history - if family members have had testicular cancer, you may have an increased risk

  • age testicular cancer affects teens and younger men - usually those between the ages of 15 and 35. However, it can occur at any age

  • race - testicular cancer is more common in white men than black men


There’s no way to prevent testicular cancer. This is why getting annual checks ups with your doctor is important. It is also recommended to perform regular testicle self-examinations in order to identify testicular cancer in its early stages.

According to the American Cancer Society, the best time to examine your testicles is during or after a bath or shower - when the skin of the scrotum is relaxed.

  • hold your penis out of the way and examine each testicle separately

  • hold your testicle between your thumbs and fingers with both hands and roll it gently between your fingers

  • look and feel for any hard lumps or nodules (smooth rounded masses) or any change in the size, shape, or consistency of your testicles.

Click this link to learn more.

If you are concerned and notice any changes, please talk your health care provider. Your doctors at Blue Hills are a phone call away!


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