As the title states, yes, a man can test positive if he pees on a pregnancy test. Although, you probably wouldn’t want too. What a pregnancy test looks for is the presence of elevated levels of the hormone beta human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). There are certain types of testicular cancers that also release this hormone. Thus, if a man has elevated levels of hCG, he could have testicular cancer resulting in a positive pregnancy test.
The opposite is not true. Just because you’re a guy and you test negative for pregnancy, it doesn’t mean you’re cancer free. Not all testicular tumors secrete this hormone. Along with testicular cancer, several other types of tumors secrete this hormone. So sit back, read on, and find out everything you didn’t think you needed to know about hCG.
Human chorionic gonadotropins main purpose in pregnancy is to keep the lining of the uterus (endometrium) thick during the 1st trimester, thereby sustaining life in the womb. It does this by promoting the secretion of another hormone, progesterone, by the ovaries.
Just prior to ovulation, the ovaries naturally produce progesterone. This has several beneficial results. It slightly elevates the body temperature. It makes the uterus muscles less likely to contract, and helps create more mucus in the vagina. This helps keep the sperm alive and more likely to reach the egg. If progesterone levels were to drop off, the lining of the uterus is thinned by shedding (welcome the 28 day curse, aunt-flow). After around week 20 of pregnancy, the placenta produces steroid hormones to diminish the role of hCG and thereby progesterone.
HCG doesn’t just get released in pregnancy. It can be released by several types of cancer tumors. Cancers involving the ovaries, stomach, lungs, and male testes can produce some elevated levels of hCG. More commonly, cancers involving the liver, mutated epithelial cells, and those involving the endocrine (hormonal) and nervous systems are associated with hCG release. It’s also found in extremely high levels in patients dying of kidney failure.
As mentioned before, a negative pregnancy test doesn’t mean cancer free. There are several types of testicular cancers and not all produce elevated levels of hCG. Lumped in to two categories they’re known as seminomas and non-seminomas. These types of cancers also produce other markers that aren’t picked up by pregnancy tests. Specifically, alpha-fetaprotein and lactate dehydrogenase. The only type that always gives off hCG is known as Choriocarcinoma. In fact, only 20%-40% of seminomas, and 40%-50% of non-seminomas give off elevated levels of hCG.
HCG has many other uses than testing for pregnancy. Since it’s been known to cause ovulation within 48 hours after injection, some doctors try this method of hormone therapy prior to attempting in vitro fertilization. Because it can help produce testosterone, bodybuilders who take steroids have also been known to take it as a supplement. This helps prevent some of steroids long term side effects, like shrinking testicles.
Some people claim that hCG therapy will help with weight loss. Numerous studies have shown this claim to be absolutely false. In fact, the US National Institute of Health warns against using it for weight loss due to the many health risks associated with it.
If you’re a guy and you test positive on a pregnancy test, you should also get tested for cancer. If you don’t test positive, you might still have cancer. It’s recommended that a male test themselves every 6 months. Common signs and symptoms include: Any lump felt on the testicle. Any testicle enlargement, change in shape, or size irregularities. Pain or discomfort in the scrotum or testicle. A dull ache or sense of pressure in the lower back or abdomen. A feeling of heaviness or fullness in the scrotum. And enlargement or tenderness of the breasts. This can be due to elevated hormone levels.
It might seem silly to grope your balls every six months (but come on fella’s, I’m sure you do it more often than that anyway) but the results can be absolutely lifesaving.
Testicular cancer is one of the most curable forms of cancer there is. The 5 year survival rates are 99% if localized, meaning still only in the testicle. They’re 96% if regional, meaning found in the testicle and surrounding lymph nodes or tissues. 73% if the cancer has spread to the organs or lymph nodes away from the tumor. You can see then, the sooner you detect the cancer, the higher likelihood you will survive.
So if you’re a guy, the oncologist’s orders are simple. Continue touching your balls often. Get checked if they feel different. Maybe, occasionally pee on a pregnancy test. They’re available at the dollar store so you won’t break the bank. If you do test positive, you might end up like Lance Armstrong when he lost to Chuck Norris in a, who-has-more-balls-competition, but at least you’ll be alive to lose. For the record, he lost by 5!
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