Researchers investigating the symptoms of testicular cancer have published their results in the British Journal of General Practise. Their study showed that testicular enlargement from a lump or swelling is the highest risk symptom for testicular cancer. The original article can be found here, at the University of Exeter’s website.
About Testicular Cancer
According to Cancer Research UK, cancer of the testicle is the 17thmost common type of cancer in the UK and it affects around 1 in every 195 men in their lifetime. The number of testicular cancer cases is also rising; they have increased by 27% since the early 1990s, and this trend is expected to continue, with a predicted rise of 12% between 2014 and 2035.
However, testicular cancer survival is also improving. In the 1970s around 70% of diagnosed males survived for 10 years or more, now this figure is approximately 98% in England and Wales.
Early diagnosis is key to better patient prognoses; testicular cancer caught at an earlier stage often needs a shorter period of treatment and is less likely to be associated with complications. Key to early diagnoses is understanding and recognising what symptoms have a strong association with testicular cancer.
About the Study
The study, carried out by the University of Exeter Medical School, aimed to find out what symptoms were commonly associated with testicular cancer in order to improve diagnosis practices. The researchers used medical records from 1,398 men with testicular cancer who were diagnosed between 2000 and 2012, and from 4,956 control males.
Based on this data, the researchers found that the top three symptoms associated with testicular cancer were testicular swelling, a testicular lump, and scrotal swelling.
Current guidance from NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellent) is based on consensus, rather than primary care evidence, and it advises that patients should be urgently referred to specialists if they develop non-painful enlargement, changes to shape, or changes to the texture of the testes.
The study’s finding that testicular enlargement is significantly associated with testicular cancer lends further support to these guidelines. However, the study authors also found that, in opposition to traditional understanding, testicular enlargement that is painful can also be a sign of cancer.