A lot of publicity has been given to women and self examination for breast cancer over the years. Male self examination for testicular cancer works the same way. The testes are palpated (felt) for any suspicious lumps. In 90% of instances of cancer, they will note a small, pea-sized lump that may be uncomfortable but not necessarily painful. One or both testicles may be enlarged.
Some men report an awkward feeling of heaviness or generalized ache in the lower abdomen or scrotum. A few may note breast growth or tenderness in their breasts. This is because some testicular tumors may secrete high levels of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), which stimulates breast development.
In some men the cancer may spread (metastasize) via the lymphatic system or bloodstream to other parts of the body. About 25% of those with metastatic testicular cancer may note lower back pain, shortness of breath, chest pain or cough depending on where the metastatic cells have spread and lodged. There may be central abdominal pain due to enlarged lymph nodes or liver involvement.
Most men will have no symptoms at all other than the lump in their testes. It is important to consult a doctor when any of these symptoms are noted because the earlier the cancer is detected, the more likely it will be cured.