With few exceptions, testicular cancer is characterized by malignant tumours which typically arise from germ cells. It is one of the most common cancers in young men, the peak age is between 20 and 40 years of age. Testicular cancer, with four to eight diseases per 100,000 men, is rare compared to other cancers. It accounts for only one to two percent of all malignant tumours.
The leading symptom of a testicular tumour is the slowly emerging, painless swelling of a testicle, with a palpable nodule formation within the testis. The patient becomes aware of this because of a heavy feeling of the testicle. Potency problems and an enlargement of the breast (gynecomastia) can be evidence of testicular cancer. Malignant testicular tumours often metastasise in the nearby lymph nodes, but also through the bloodstream in the skeleton, liver and lung.
During an examination, the tumour is palpable as a firm, usually pressure-painless lump. Further diagnostics used are a testicular ultrasound, and a blood test focusing on specific tumour markers. The computer tomography, Urography and Lymphography, and also an X-ray of the chest, provide additional diagnostic options.
All men should self-check their testicles once a month from adolescence onwards, preferably in a warm environment as the scrotal skin relaxes, and changes are easier to detect.