You may have heard the recent internet buzz about a male teen that took a home pregnancy test as a joke and was shocked to get a positive result? Well that same teen wasn’t pregnant (obviously) but he might have had testicular cancer!
It’s totally possible, according to Dr. Ted Gansler, director of medical content for the American Cancer Society, who claims pregnancy tests work by detecting a hormone called Beta-HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) that’s produced by the cells of a woman’s placenta during pregnancy, but it’s also excreted by some tumors associated with testicular cancers.
“Only a small minority of men with testicular cancer have HCG levels high enough to be detected by a home urine pregnancy test,” said Dr. Gansler. “Medical journals have documented that both men and women patients with pancreas, lung, stomach, or other cancers may have HCG levels high enough to cause a positive pregnancy test result.”
Even though the American Cancer Society doesn’t recommend home pregnancy tests as useful screening tool, they do recommend men perform regular self-exams. Any detection of a lump on the testicles is the first sign of cancer, and should be followed up by a doctor’s appointment as soon as possible.
Source: CNN Health