The majority of lumps found in the testicle are not caused by cancer. Testicle lumps are more commonly caused by fluid collecting, an infection, or swelling of skin or veins.
However, it is not possible to diagnose the cause of a lump at home. A person should always seek medical advice.
In this article, we look at the possible causes of a testicle lump, self-examination, and when to see a doctor. We also cover diagnosis and treatment.
Lumps and swellings inside the testicles, or on the skin around them, can have a range of causes, including:
A cyst is a fluid-filled sac that can feel like a small, hard lump when touched. Cysts can develop almost anywhere on the body and are usually harmless.
A varicocele is a lumpy area caused by swollen veins in the testicles. This is similar to a varicose vein forming in a person’s leg. It is not clear what causes a varicocele.
Fluid collecting around a testicle can cause a swelling known as a hydrocele.
This often happens after an infection or injury to this area of the body. Hydroceles are usually painless. The swelling can affect one or both testicles.
Testicular torsion is a serious medical condition that needs immediate treatment. This can happen when the cord connected to the testicles twists and cuts off the blood supply.
People with testicular torsion usually experience severe pain, which may be followed by vomiting and testicular swelling.
If a person is not feeling any pain or discomfort, they may not require treatment. Anyone with a testicle lump should regularly check it at home to make sure that it does not get any bigger or change shape.
Cysts will usually go away on their own. If the cyst is painful, applying a warm washcloth can help reduce swelling. If a cyst becomes infected, a person may need medication to treat the infection.
Doctors can remove a cyst under local anesthetic. However, doctors do not usually recommend this as cysts are unlikely to cause health problems. A cyst can also come back in the same place.
People with a varicocele or hydrocele who are not experiencing any symptoms are unlikely to need treatment. The fluid sac where a hydrocele has formed can be repaired, or sometimes, removed.
Someone with a varicocele might also consider surgery. The procedure involves stopping the blood flow to the swollen veins, which allows the veins to shrink.
Doctors usually treat epididymitis with antibiotics for the underlying infection. A person can take pain relieving medication or apply a cold pack wrapped in fabric to the testicles to help with pain and swelling.
A person will need treatment if a lump in the testicle is found to be cancerous. Treatment will be different depending on the stage of the cancer.
Doctors use radiation therapy and chemotherapy to kill cancer cells or stop them from growing. A person may need surgery to remove a lump from the testicle. Sometimes, more than one treatment might be necessary.
It may be necessary for a doctor to remove part or all of the testicle to diagnose cancer and prevent it from spreading. The testicle can often be replaced with an implant. This can affect fertility, so a person may be given the opportunity to save and store sperm before surgery.
There are several possible causes for a lump in the testicle, most of which are harmless. People who are not experiencing any pain or discomfort may not require any treatment.
Rarely, the lump may be a sign of testicular cancer. Doctors may need to treat this with a combination of radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery.
Anyone who finds a lump in their testicles should always see a doctor. Regularly checking the testicles for lumps can help spot the early signs of testicular cancer.
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