HOUSTON - A report of a 17-year-old boy who learned he had testicular cancer after taking a home pregnancy test as a joke may have merit.
According to the American Cancer Society, the tests do detect a certain hormone excreted by the cancer.
After the test turned positive, the teen was later diagnosed with testicular cancer and may need to have his testicle removed.
Urologist Dr. Jon Rumohr with Kelsey-Seybold Clinic told Local 2, "There are no normal circumstances for a man to have an elevated HCG (level) in his urine."
Home pregnancy tests look for an elevated HCG hormone level in the urine, which indicates pregnancy.
The same hormone can be present in some testicular cancers.
Rumohr explained, "If a man has testicular cancer, often times, but not all circumstances ... that HCG level in the bloodstream will actually go quite high and that spills over into the urine."
But because it's not an accurate enough diagnostic tool, Rumohr recommends men do monthly self-exams in the shower.
He said, "A testicular mass, a growth, one side being larger than the other, pain, redness, anything that doesn't seem right should prompt a visit to see his doctor."
Rumohr added that a lot of men tend to ignore those symptoms and put off seeing the doctor, but as with most cancers, the earlier it's detected, the better.
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