Banner Health
Making healthcare easier

Testicular Cancer Symptoms

What are the signs and symptoms of testicular cancer?

Watch for these signs of testicular cancer. They could be caused by conditions other than cancer, but if you notice them and they last more than two weeks, it’s important to see a health care provider.

  • A lump or swelling in either testicle that is often painless. It’s important to be familiar with the normal size and shape of your testicles so you’ll spot any changes.
  • Fluid buildup in the scrotum (the sac that contains the testicles).
  • Pain, discomfort or a dull ache in the testicle or the scrotum (the skin that covers the testicles). This pain may be there all the time or it may come and go. You may also notice pain in your lower abdomen or groin.
  • Changes in testicle texture or firmness, such as hardness or softness.
  • Heaviness or tenderness in the scrotum or the testicles.
  • A testicle that’s getting smaller.
  • Facial and body hair at a young age (in boys).
  • Tender or swollen breasts (rare).

If testicular cancer has spread, you could notice symptoms such as:

  • Coughing.
  • Trouble breathing or swallowing.
  • Lower back or abdominal pain.


All men should perform testicular self-exams. Regular self-exams can help you find testicular cancer early when it’s usually easier to treat. Examining your testicles is quick, painless and easy to add to your routine.It’s a good idea to examine your testicles during or after a warm shower when you’re more relaxed. To perform a testicular self-exam, gently feel each testicle for any lumps, swelling or changes in texture. Testicles usually feel spongy but firm. Follow these steps:

  1. Hold one testicle between your thumb and fingers.
  2. Roll the whole surface of your testicle between your fingers to feel for lumps or changes. Note any areas that feel unusually firm or different from the rest of the testicle. 
  3. Feel the tube-like structures behind the testicle, called the epididymis and vas deferens. They may feel slightly lumpy but should not feel painful.
  4. Repeat the exam on the other testicle. It’s normal for one testicle to be slightly larger or slightly lower than the other, but you shouldn’t notice major differences.

Examine your testicles once a month unless your health care provider recommends a different schedule. With regular exams, you’ll become familiar with the normal size, shape and feel of your testicles. That way, it will be easier for you to notice any changes. And you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing that you’re checking your health.

The benefits of early detection

If you notice anything that doesn’t seem right or feel any pain or discomfort, see your health care provider. Testicular cancer is very treatable when it’s diagnosed early, but many people wait for months before getting care.

  • With early diagnosis, you can often treat testicular cancer with treatments like radiation and surgery. For more advanced cancers, you may need stronger treatments like chemotherapy.
  • Treating testicular cancer early may help prevent it from spreading to other parts of the body.
  • Getting medical attention for any suspicious area can lower your anxiety and improve your mental well-being.

Fortunately, most testicular masses are not cancer. However even if benign they could lead to other conditions which can cause testicular pain or threaten fertility and should be evaluated by a medical professional. 

Learn about testicular cancer tests and diagnosis.