Testicular Cancer: Expert Advice for Early Detection

Physician shows patient prostate area circled on tablet screen

New Brunswick, N.J., April 1, 2024 – Testicular cancer is most common between the ages of 15 and 45, with the median age for diagnosis being 33, according to the American Cancer Society. Therefore, young men should become familiar with the symptoms related to this disease and understand how easily they can play a role in its detection. 

Vignesh T. Packiam, MD, director of Clinical and Translational Research in Urologic Oncology and a urologic oncologist in the Urologic Oncology Program at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and RWJBarnabas Health, the state’s leading cancer program and only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, shares more. 

There are some risk factors that can increase your risk of testicular cancer. Men whose testicles did not descend into the scrotum at birth, a condition known as cryptorchidism, are at an increased risk for testicular cancer. Other established risk factors include a family history or personal history of testicular cancer.

Early detection is key and can start in your own home. Regular self-exams are easy and can help men to recognize if something might be wrong. To self-exam, an individual should hold each testicle separately between the thumbs and forefingers of both hands and roll it gently, feeling for hard lumps, rounded masses, and/or changes in shape or size. This should be performed once a month. 

Don’t hesitate to reach out to a medical professional if experiencing early signs of testicular cancer. Any lumps, bumps, or a dull ache in the groin or lower abdomen are all possibly signs of testicular cancer. Pain, swelling, or discomfort in the testicles can also be warning signs of the disease. If the cancer has spread, it most commonly affects the lymph nodes in the lower back, which can cause lower back pain. 

There’s no need for shame in the conversation about men’s health. It is common for men to feel nervous when talking to a medical professional about abnormalities in the testicles. However, not speaking up about medical concerns to a doctor unnecessarily delays or prevents treatment, and can allow the cancer to grow and spread. Ultimately, the best way to reduce your risk of testicular cancer is to be aware of the body and report any changes to a medical professional.

This is a highly curable cancer, especially in the early stages of disease. At advanced stages of disease, experience is critical to yield the best outcomes, and our team at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey has expertise in multi-disciplinary management for testicular cancer.

Learn more about the Urologic Oncology Program at Rutgers Cancer Institute by visiting cinj.org/patient-care/urologic-oncology-program