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usually starts in the sperm-making cells of the testicles. Testicular cancer occurs most commonly in men aged 15 to 39 years.
Common symptoms include the following:
- A painless lump or change in how your testicle feels
- Your testicle becomes larger or smaller
- Swelling of your scrotum
- A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
- A dull ache in the lower abdomen or in the groin
- Pain or discomfort in your testicle or scrotum
- Breast swelling or tenderness
Call 911 for any of the following:
- Your leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
- You suddenly feel lightheaded and short of breath.
- You have chest pain when you take a deep breath or cough.
- You cough up blood.
Contact your healthcare provider or oncologist if:
- You have a fever.
- You are vomiting and cannot keep any food or liquids down.
- You feel lumps or other changes in your testicle.
- You are depressed and feel you cannot cope with your illness.
- You are confused or cannot think clearly.
- You have pain that does not decrease or go away after you take your pain medicine.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Treatment for testicular cancer
may include any of the following:
- Surgery may be needed to remove your testicle. Lymph nodes that contain cancer may also be removed.
- Radiation therapy kills cancer cells and may stop the cancer from spreading with x-rays or gamma rays.
- Chemotherapy medicine is used to treat cancer by killing cancer cells. Chemotherapy may also be used to shrink lymph nodes that have cancer in them.
How testicular cancer may affect your ability to have sex:
A man with one normal healthy testicle can still have sex and make sperm. Before treatment, ask your healthcare provider how your ability to have sex may change. Treatment can affect these abilities. Some men have their sperm removed and frozen so that they can father a child at a later time.
Do testicular self-exams:
A testicular self-exam (TSE) can help you learn how your testicles normally look and feel. Ask your healthcare provider or oncologist for more information about a TSE and how often to do one.
- Stand in front of a mirror and look at your scrotum. Look for changes in its shape, size, and color. It may be normal for one side of your scrotum to be larger or to hang lower than the other.
- Examine one testicle at a time. Put the thumbs of both hands in front of the testicle. Put the second (pointer) fingers behind the testicle. Gently roll each testicle between the thumbs and fingers of both hands. Feel for any lumps or changes in the testicle. It may be normal for one of your testicles to feel slightly larger than the other. Find a long, cord-like tube on top and in back of each testicle. This is the epididymis. Feel for any changes in the epididymis.
Manage your testicular cancer:
- Do not smoke. Nicotine can damage blood vessels and make it more difficult to manage your testicular cancer. Smoking also increases your risk for new or returning cancer and delays healing after treatment. Do not use e-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco in place of cigarettes or to help you quit. They still contain nicotine. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help quitting.
- Drink liquids as directed. Drink extra liquids to prevent dehydration. You will also need to replace fluid if you are vomiting or have diarrhea from cancer treatments. Ask your healthcare provider which liquids to drink and how much you need each day.
- Limit or do not drink alcohol as directed. Limit alcohol to 2 drinks per day. A drink of alcohol is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of liquor.
- Eat healthy foods. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. Ask if you need to be on a special diet.
- Exercise as directed. Exercise can help increase your energy level. Ask your healthcare provider about the best exercise plan for you.
Follow up with your oncologist as directed:
You will need to see your oncologist for ongoing treatment. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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