Testicular cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the testicles. While relatively rare, it is the most common form of cancer in men between the ages of 15 and 35. Early detection is key to successful treatment, so it’s very important for men to be aware of the signs and symptoms and perform regular self-examinations.
In this article, we will provide you with all the information you need to know about testicular cancer, including its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment options, and more.
Causes of Testicular Cancer:
The exact cause is still unknown; however, certain risk factors have been identified, including a family history of the disease, undescended testicles, abnormal testicle development, and HIV infection. Additionally, men who have already had testicular cancer are at an increased risk of developing the condition again.
Symptoms of Testicular Cancer:
The most common symptom of testicular cancer is a painless lump or swelling in one or both testicles. Other symptoms may include a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum, a dull ache or pain in the lower abdomen or groin, and breast enlargement or tenderness.
It is important to note that not all cases will present with these symptoms, which is why it is important for men to perform regular self-examinations.
Diagnosis of Testicular Cancer:
If you discover a lump or swelling during self-examination or otherwise suspect you may have testicular cancer, it is essential to see a doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor will likely perform a physical exam and order blood tests to check for tumour markers.
An ultrasound scan of the scrotum may also be done to confirm the presence of a tumour. In some cases, a biopsy may be necessary to confirm a diagnosis.
Treatment Options for Testicular Cancer:
The treatment options for testicular cancer depend on the type and stage of the cancer. In most cases, surgery is required to remove the affected testicle. This procedure is known as a radical inguinal orchiectomy.
Additional treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, may be recommended if the cancer has spread beyond the testicles.
Can testicular cancer be prevented?
Unfortunately, there is no known prevention; however, performing regular self-examinations and seeking medical attention if you notice any unusual symptoms can help with early detection and treatment.
Is testicular cancer curable?
Yes, testicular cancer is highly curable, especially when caught early. The five-year survival rate for men with localized testicular cancer is over 99%.
Will I be able to have children after testicular cancer treatment?
In most cases, men are still able to father children after treatment for testicular cancer. However, in some cases, chemotherapy or radiation therapy may affect fertility. Your doctor can discuss options for preserving fertility before starting treatment.
How often should I perform a self-examination for testicular cancer?
It is recommended that men perform a self-examination at least once a month. This involves feeling the testicles for any lumps or abnormalities.
What should I do if I find a lump on my testicle?
If you notice a lump or swelling on your testicle, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible. While not all lumps are cancerous, early detection is key in successfully treating testicular cancer.
Can testicular cancer spread to other parts of the body?
Yes, testicular cancer can spread to other parts of the body, such as the lymph nodes, lungs, and liver. This is why early detection and treatment are crucial in preventing the cancer from spreading.
What can I expect after testicular cancer treatment?
After treatment for testicular cancer, it is important to continue to monitor your health and attend follow-up appointments with your doctor. You may experience side effects from treatment, such as fatigue, nausea, and hair loss. Your doctor can provide you with resources and support to help manage these side effects.