Pregnancy tests can’t reliably diagnose testicular cancer

27 September 2021
What was claimed

A positive pregnancy test result for men could indicate high levels of hormones linked to testicular cancer.

Our verdict

This is true in some cases, but pregnancy tests are not a reliable form of diagnosis for testicular cancer.

A post on Facebook claims that a positive pregnancy test result for men could indicate high levels of hormones linked to testicular cancer. 

While it’s true that some forms of testicular cancer could cause a positive result on a pregnancy test, this is not a reliable form of diagnosis and can’t diagnose every case of testicular cancer. 

As we have written before, standard over-the-counter pregnancy tests work by detecting higher than usual levels of a hormone called human Chorionic Gonadotrophin (hCG), which increases in the early weeks of pregnancy.

Some forms of testicular cancer also produce high levels of hCG, but this isn’t true for all cases. A false positive pregnancy test result could also be due to certain types of medication, fertility treatments or things like serious urinary tract infections.

Cancer Research UK’s head information nurse Martin Ledwick previously told Full Fact: “We definitely wouldn’t recommend relying on a pregnancy test to self-diagnose testicular cancer. 

“Sometimes testicular cancers can cause an elevated hCG, but this isn’t always the case. Someone could get false reassurance from a negative test or could have elevated levels for another reason altogether.”

“It’s important to see your GP if you notice any unusual changes, like a lump in the testicle, a heavy sensation in the scrotum, or a sharp pain in the scrotum or testicle.  And while men may feel that some symptoms can be embarrassing to talk about, GPs are used to dealing with things their patients may find difficult to discuss. 

“Testicular cancer is rare, so the likelihood is it won’t be cancer—but it’s best to get it checked out anyway.’’

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as missing context because while a positive pregnancy test can indicate high levels of hormones linked with some types of testicular cancer, it is not a reliable form of diagnosis.

Full Fact fights bad information

Bad information ruins lives. It promotes hate, damages people’s health, and hurts democracy. You deserve better.