Listen up, men. You should really take a pregnancy test. It sounds weird and may seem counter-intuitive—why would a man ever need to take a pregnancy test? It could actually save your life.
The test obviously isn’t meant to detect pregnancy in men, but it can indicate the presence of cancer.
Pregnancy tests are designed to check HCG hormone levels, a type of hormone produced by a developing placenta when a woman is pregnant. This hormone is also produced in men who have testicular cancer.
Doctors therefore can use pregnancy lab-work to diagnose or rule out testicular cancer, and can then deliver life-saving treatment.
That’s what happened to Byron Geldard, a 19-year-old who suffered from severe chronic pains.
His doctors found malignant tumors, but were stumped as to what kind of cancer they were dealing with—they narrowed it down to four of five different types of cancer, but needed more concrete knowledge. He was given a pregnancy test, which gave his doctors the answers they need to save his life.
While it is a useful tool to medical professionals, regular people should not rely on at-home pregnancy tests alone for a diagnosis.
The American Cancer Society warns that not all at-home tests are accurate. Some men with the condition may only produce a small trace amount of the HCG hormone, which means a pregnancy test alone might not pick up on the increased levels. Additionally, some non-cancerous conditions could cause a false positive on a pregnancy test.