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Testicular cancer

Mate pukupuku raho

Testicular cancer is where cells in a testicle become abnormal and grow into a tumour. This usually starts in the cells that develop into sperm.

No one knows what causes testicular cancer, though there are risks factors.

Symptoms of testicular cancer

Most cases of testicular cancer are found during medical testing for other conditions or when doing a testicular self-examination.

Symptoms include:

Checking for testicular cancer

It's very important to regularly check your testicles for any new changes. Changes to look out for include lumps, a change in size, a feeling of heaviness or unevenness in the scrotum, and any discomfort.

See the Testicular Cancer NZ video below about how to examine your testicles.

A lump in your testicle isn't always cancer but it's best to get it checked.

Diagnosing testicular cancer

Your general practice team will ask you questions about your general health and medical history. They will examine you both lying and standing to check the position of the lump. They may hold a light against your scrotum to see if the light passes through.

If your general practice team thinks you may have testicular cancer, they will refer you to a specialist for further assessment.

Tests for testicular cancer include a urine test, blood test, ultrasound and a biopsy (taking a tiny sample of tissue).

Treating testicular cancer

Testicular cancer is nearly always curable if it's found early. If it isn't found early, the cancer can spread to lymph nodes and other parts of your body.

Your treatment will depend on the type and stage of testicular cancer. The first treatment option is usually removing the affected testicle. This is called an orchidectomy (or-kid-ec-tom-ee) or orchiectomy (or-ki-ec-tom-ee). Chemotherapy and radiation treatment may follow this.

Getting help for testicular cancer

See your general practice team if you notice a lump, any swelling or a change in one or both of your testicles.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed April 2023.


Page reference: 223797

Review key: HITSP-26704