Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment
Testicular cancer is a malignant tumor that grows in the testes, an oval-shaped organ in the scrotum that is behind the shaft of the penis. Check out the full review of the symptoms, causes, and how to treat it below.
What is Testicular Cancer?
Testicular cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the testicles. A man diagnosed with this cancer is on average 15 to 35 years old. In very rare cases, this condition can occur before puberty or occur after the age of 55 years.
Typical symptoms are a painless swelling or lump in one or both testicles, changes in the shape or texture of the testicles.
Compared to other types of cancer, this is a rare type of cancer. However, this condition is treatable even when the cancer spreads beyond the testes.
Symptoms of Testicular Cancer
Patients with this cancer can experience various symptoms, even the symptoms that occur are not related to cancer. So, if you have some of the following symptoms it doesn’t mean you have cancer.
The following are some of the things a man can feel when experiencing this, including:
- A lump or enlargement in one or both testicles.
- A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum (scrotum).
- Dull pain in the stomach or groin.
- Sudden collection of fluid in the scrotum.
- Pain or discomfort in the testicles or scrotum.
- Breast enlargement or tenderness.
- Back pain.
It should also be noted, many of the characteristics of testicular cancer are similar to those caused by non-cancerous conditions. Changes in size or lumps in the testicles can be caused by conditions such as:
- Spermatoceles develop in the epididymis, which is a small organ attached to the testicle by a coiled tube that carries sperm away from the testicle.
- Varicocele, enlargement of the veins in the testicles.
- Hydrocele, a buildup of fluid in the membranes around the testicles.
- Hernia, a condition when tissue or an organ pushes a hole in the abdominal muscle or connective tissue.
Meanwhile, the appearance of pain in the testicles can be caused by:
- Infection of the testes, including orchitis and inflammation of the epididymis
- Dislocated testicle.
When is the Right Time to See a Doctor?
If you experience symptoms that worry you, see a doctor immediately. These symptoms include pain, swelling, and a lump in the testicles or groin area that persists for more than two weeks.
Causes of Testicular Cancer
This type of cancer occurs when healthy cells in the testicles change. Healthy cells grow and divide regularly to keep the body functioning normally. However, sometimes some cells have abnormalities that cause growth to become uncontrollable.
These cancer cells continue to divide even when new cells are not needed. The accumulated cells form a mass in the testes.
This type of cancer starts in germ cells, the cells in the testicles that produce immature sperm. However, what causes germ cells to become abnormal and develop into cancer is not known with certainty.
Also Read: Orchitis (Inflammation of the Testicles): Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention
Although the conditions that cause germ cells to become abnormal are not known with certainty, there are several factors that can increase the risk of this cancer, including:
Undescended Testes (Cryptorchidism)
The testicles form in the abdominal area during fetal development and usually descend into the scrotum before birth. Men with undescended testicles are at a greater risk of developing this condition than men whose testicles descend normally.
The risk remains increased even if the testes have been surgically transferred to the scrotum. However, most men who have this cancer do not have a history of undescended testicles.
Abnormal Testicular Development
Abnormal swelling of the testicles is a condition that causes the testicles to develop abnormally. A person with Klinefelter’s syndrome may have an increased risk of testicular cancer.
Do you have family members who have this condition? If there is, then you have the possibility of having an increased risk of this type of cancer.
This condition affects youth and younger men, especially those between the ages of 15 and 35. Even so, this condition can occur at any age.
Apart from family history, other conditions that cannot be avoided are related to race. This type of cancer is more common in white men than in black men.
Also Read: Rarely Realized, These Are Symptoms of Prostate Infection in Men
Testicular Cancer Diagnosis
In some cases, a man just becomes aware of this condition when he does a self-examination to check for lumps. To determine whether a lump is testicular cancer, your doctor may recommend the following tests:
This test uses sound waves to produce images of the scrotum and testicles. During the ultrasound, you must lie on your back with your legs extended. Then, the doctor applies a clear gel to the scrotum. After that, a hand-held probe is held over the scrotum to create an ultrasound image.
Ultrasound can help doctors determine the nature of a testicular lump, such as solid or filled with fluid. An ultrasound can also tell your doctor if there is a lump inside or outside the testicle.
This test is needed to determine the levels of tumor markers (tumor markers) in blood. Tumor markers are substances that occur normally in the blood, but levels of these substances can be elevated in certain situations, including this type of cancer.
A high level of tumor markers in your blood doesn’t mean you have cancer, but it can help your doctor make a diagnosis.
Surgery to Remove the Testicles (Radical Inguinal Orchiectomy)
If it is determined that the lump in the testicle is cancer, surgery to remove the testicle may be recommended. The removed testicle will be analyzed to determine what type of cancer is experienced.
Types of Testicular Cancer
The type a sufferer has determines the treatment and prognosis. In general, there are two types of testicular cancer, including:
Seminoma tumors occur in all age groups, but if an older man develops the condition, it is more likely to be a seminoma. In general, seminomas are not as aggressive as nonseminomas.
Nonseminoma tumors tend to develop earlier in life, growing and spreading quickly. There are several types of nonseminoma tumors, including choriocarcinoma, embryonal carcinoma, teratoma, and yolk sac tumor.
Testicular Cancer Stage
After the doctor confirms the results of the diagnosis, the next step is to determine the extent of the development of the cancer.
- Stage 0: This condition is also called Germ Cell Neoplasia In Situ (GCNIS). This is not cancer, but a warning that cancer can grow. GCNIS can only be found in the seminiferous tubules.
- Stage I (IA, IB, IS): Cancer is found only in the testes. It hasn’t spread to nearby lymph nodes.
- Stage II (IIA, IIB, IIC): The cancer has spread to one or more lymph nodes in the abdomen, but has not spread to other parts of the body.
- Stage III (IIIA, IIIB, IIIC): The cancer has spread beyond the lymph nodes in the abdomen. Cancer can be found far from the testes, such as in the lungs.
Testicular Cancer Treatment
There are three treatments that are commonly used to treat this condition. Treatment depends on the stage of the cancer. The following are treatments that can be done:
Surgery is the most common treatment to remove one or both testicles. In some cases, the surgeon may also remove the lymph nodes.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. This medication can be administered externally or internally.
External radiation uses a machine that is focused on the cancer area. While internal radiation involves the use of radioactive seeds or wires placed in the affected area. This method is often successful in treating seminomas.
Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. This is a systemic treatment, which means it can kill cancer cells that have spread to other parts of the body.
In cases of very advanced cancer, high-dose chemotherapy may be followed by a stem cell transplant. After chemotherapy destroys the cancer cells, stem cells are administered and develop into healthy blood cells.
Also Read: Testicular Torsion: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment
Although curable, this cancer can also spread to other parts of the body. If one or both testicles are removed, the fertility rate will also be affected. Therefore, ask your doctor about options for maintaining fertility.
Testicular Cancer Prevention
Basically, there is no way to prevent this condition. However, some doctors recommend regular testicular self-exams to identify cancer at its earliest stages.
However, not all doctors agree with this action. It’s best to discuss testicular exams with several doctors if you’re not sure whether it’s right for you.
Now, that’s a complete explanation of testicular cancer that men need to watch out for. Hopefully this information is useful, Healthy Friends.
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