A recent Facebook post claimed that a man took a pregnancy test and it came up positive. He thought it was funny but after mentioning it to a better informed friend, realized there may be something amiss. He went to his family doc and was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Is this legit? Apparently, yes. According to WebMD certain types of cancer produce hormones. There are several types of testicular cancer but some make hormones. One of these hormones can be hCG, the same hormone produced by embryotic tissue during pregnancy, which is detected by a pregnancy test. Another type of marker is an enzyme called alpha-fetaprotein or AFP, which a pregnancy test may also detect. And some types of testicular cancers don’t produce any markers at all.
So if a man gets a positive result on a pregnancy test does it mean he definitely has testicular cancer? Not necessarily. HCG is not unique to males having testicular cancer. Other cancers can also produce this hormone. False positives are common too. More testing is definitely called for.
Although testicular cancer is the most common form of cancer found in males between 15 and 34, it’s still relatively rare. There are only 5.4 cases per 100,000 men each year. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends against any routine testing for testicular cancer. Most testicular cancers are self-detected or found by a sex partner. There’s no evidence that regular self-exams or doctor exams catch these cancers any earlier. Even in advanced cases, the cure rates are high. Regardless of the stage, more than 90% of all newly diagnosed cases of testicular will be cured. If a lump of any size is detected, or things just don’t feel normal, get it checked out by a professional. Self-awareness is still the best way to know something is wrong. For more information about testicular cancer check out the resource here, here, here, and here.