INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 19, 2014) — Men, did you know you could use a home pregnancy test to potentially detect signs of testicular cancer? Right now, the evidence is anecdotal, but a local doctor says there’s something to it.
This discussion blew up on social media when one man used the test, and it turned out he did have testicular cancer. Home pregnancy tests detect a hormone in women that tell if they’re pregnant, and some men who are diagnosed with testicular cancer have the same hormone. So yes, guys could try it.
We’re talking about detecting something called HCG.
“HCG is a hormone produced by some testicular cancers, and the home urinare pregnancy test does test for that hormone,” said Dr. Niraj Gupta, an oncologist at St. Vincent Hospital.
That’s because HCG is present in a woman’s placenta, and it detects pregnancy. Dr. Gupta says while there’s no scientific proof of this, it makes sense.
“Technically there is some basis to the claim that it could be used for diagnosing or detecting testicular cancer,” said Dr. Gupta.
He says we should still be doing regular self exams. Check to see if there is anything out of the ordinary. If something just doesn’t feel right, go see a doctor and don’t rely soley on a home pregnancy test.
“A majority of the men who have early testicular cancer do not have high enough values of HCG that can be measured by a home urine pregnancy test,” said Dr. Gupta.
“Uh…I’m at a loss for words,” said one man. “I don’t even know what to say to you, I just didn’t know.”
“If you can find any kind of way to detect cancer, I don’t care what kind of cancer it is, it’s good,” said another man.
The take home from this is that home pregnancy tests should not be the determining factor of whether you have testicular cancer or whether you should see your doctor. But, because the hormones can in some cases be registered, it may be worth trying.