The first sign of testicular cancer is most often a painless lump in one of your testicles. Swelling or a feeling of heaviness in your scrotum are also among the most common initial signs.

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Testicular cancer often doesn’t cause any noticeable symptoms in the early stages. Healthcare professionals often find it incidentally during imaging or removal of your testicle for unrelated reasons.

As the cancer progresses, you may develop a lump or symptoms such as:

  • pain
  • fatigue
  • breast growth

Even advanced testicular cancer tends to have a good outlook compared to many other types of cancer. The earlier you start treatment, the better the chances that treatment will cure your cancer.

Testicular cancer may not cause symptoms in the early stages until the cancer grows large or spreads to other tissues. The most common initial symptoms are a painless lump or swelling around one of your testicles.

This lump usually feels firm and can be the size of a pea or larger.

Testicular cancer typically develops in one testicle. Still, men who develop cancer in one testicle are at an increased risk of developing cancer on the other side.

Cancer develops in both testicles at the same time in less than 5% of cases.

Other symptoms of early testicular cancer

Other early symptoms of testicular cancer can include:

Symptoms of advanced testicular cancer

Your cancer may cause additional symptoms if it spreads to surrounding tissues or distant body parts. About 10% of people have initial symptoms that develop from the spread of the cancer to distant areas.

Symptoms of advanced cancer can include:

Some people may develop symptoms or complications that aren’t typical of testicular cancer. For instance, in a 2023 study, researchers reported a case of a young man who developed a ruptured testicle.

You may feel drained either from your cancer or your cancer treatment. Cancer cells require a lot of energy which may make you feel more tired than usual.

They also cause your body to release molecules called cytokines. High amounts of these molecules can also lead to fatigue.

You might feel emotionally drained or overwhelmed if you receive a testicular cancer diagnosis. You may experience anger, sadness, or a wide array of other emotions that may change quickly.

Many people find it helpful to express their feelings with those close to them to help them process. You may also find it helpful to talk with:

  • other cancer survivors
  • support groups
  • counselors

If you prefer not to talk about your cancer, you may find it helpful to write your feelings down.

Pain isn’t one of the most common initial symptoms of testicular cancer, although some people have sharp pain in one of their testicles or scrotum. Most of the time, testicular cancer doesn’t cause pain.

If the cancer spreads beyond your testicle, you may develop pain in your abdomen or lower back.

Here’s how the American Cancer Society recommends performing a testicular self-exam:

  1. During or after a bath or shower, hold your penis out of the way and examine each testicle one at a time.
  2. Hold your testicle between your thumb and fingers with both hands, and gently roll your testicle between your fingers.
  3. Look or feel for any hard lumps or other changes to your testicle, such as:
    • small and round masses
    • changes to the consistency
    • changes to the shape

It’s typical for one testicle to be slightly larger than the other or hang lower.

The first symptom of testicular cancer is often a painless lump or swelling around one of your testicles. Other common initial symptoms include a feeling of heaviness around your scrotum or testicular pain.

It’s important to seek medical attention if you notice any changes to one of your testicles. These changes might be caused by something other than cancer, but if it’s cancer, it’s important to start treatment as soon as possible.