A viral Facebook video recommending men to get self-tested for testicular cancer using a basic, over-the-counter tool: a home pregnancy test.
As per the viral post, if a man pees on the home pregnancy kit and the results are positive. It means that the man has testicular cancer.
Testicular cancer occurs in the testicles (testes), which are located inside the scrotum, a loose bag of skin underneath the penis. The testicles produce male sex hormones and sperm for reproduction.
Diagnosing testicular cancer using a home pregnancy test started way back during mid-1980s and gone viral online since 2012 when a man who discovered that he has Testicular cancer post taking a home pregnancy test just for fun.
According to Healthline, home pregnancy tests are not a reliable way to detect testicular cancer. The idea came about because hCG — the hormone that’s detected on a pregnancy test — can be at elevated levels in testicular cancer.
However, not all testicular cancers produce increased levels of hCG, making a negative result misleading. On the other hand, the presence of blood or protein in urine as well as the use of certain medications can lead to a false-positive result.
Overall, a home pregnancy test may not be useful for detecting testicular cancer. If you have symptoms of testicular cancer, it’s important to see a doctor for further testing rather than relying on a home pregnancy test.
Dr Aruna Kalra, a senior gynecologist and obstetrician at CK Birla Hospital has beautifully explained the scenario as-
It is true that if a male pees on a pregnancy tester, he may test positive.
A pregnancy test checks for the presence of increased beta human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) levels. This hormone is also released by some testicular cancer types. Therefore, a guy who has excessive hCG levels may have testicular cancer, which would cause a positive pregnancy test. Contrarily, if you’re a guy and a pregnancy test come back negative, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re cancer-free because not all testicular tumors emit this hormone.
The primary function of human chorionic gonadotropins during pregnancy is to maintain the endometrium, or uterine lining, as thick as possible during the first trimester. It accomplishes this by encouraging the ovaries to secrete the hormone progesterone, which is another hormone.
The ovaries naturally create progesterone just before ovulation. This has a number of effects, including a minor rise in body temperature, a reduction in the likelihood of uterine contractions, and an increase in vaginal mucus production. All of this makes the sperm more likely to survive and reach the egg. The uterine lining sheds and becomes thinner if progesterone levels fall. The placenta begins to create steroid hormones after about week 20 of pregnancy, which lessens the impact of hCG and progesterone.
How does hCG relate to cancer then?
It can be secreted by a variety of cancerous tumors, including those that affect the testicles, stomach, ovaries, and lungs. Additionally linked to hCG secretion include cancers of the liver, altered epithelial cells, the endocrine (hormonal) system, and the neurological system. Finally, individuals with kidney failure frequently have exceptionally high amounts of this hormone.
Dr.Esha Chainani, MBBS, MS Obstetrics and Gynecology and founder of Premaa says, some testicular cancers release beta hcg which is the pregnancy hormone which is detected by urine pregnancy tests.
It’s a home trick method of screening. Not accurate. But if it shows positive then the man needs to be checked out properly to see what’s wrong
You can consider the home pregnancy result as an indication that you need to see a doctor but there is no conclusive evidence that proves this trick to be accurate.