Testicular cancer that starts in one or both of the males testes. testicles are the male reproductive glands situated in your scrotum, which is the skin bag located below your penis. Your testicles are responsible for both sperm production and testosterone hormone. (1) (2)
Testicular cancer most often starts with germ cell modifications. Those are the cells in your testes that produce sperm. These germ cell tumors represent more than 90 percent cancer of the testicles.
There are two main types of germ cell tumors:
- Seminomas are testicular cancers and develop slowly. They are generally confined to your testicles, but your lymph nodes may be involved as well.
- Nonseminomas are the most commonly occurring form of testicular cancer. It develops more rapidly and can spread to other parts of your body.
Testicular cancer may also occur in tissues which produce hormones. They are known as gonadal stromal tumors.
Testicular cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among men aged 15 to 35, but it is possible to happen at any age. It is also one of the more treatable cancers, although it is widespread in other regions.
In the opinion of the American Cancer Society, for people who have early stages testicular cancer, the five-year survival ratio is higher than 95 percent.
Risk factors for testicular cancer
The risk factors that may increase your risk for testicular cancer are as follows:
- with a family history of the condition
- having abnormally developed testicular
- be of Caucasian origin
Symptoms of testicular cancer
Some men do not have any symptoms when they receive a diagnosis of testicular cancer. As symptoms develop, they may include:
- testicular pain
- testicular swelling
- lower abdominal pain
- back pain
- breast tissue enlargement
Visit your physician if you experience any of these symptoms.
How is testicular cancer diagnosed?
Tests your physician can be used for diagnosis testicular cancer can include:
- a physical examination, which may reveal any testicular defects, such as lumps or swelling.
- an ultrasound to look at the inner structure of the testicles.
- blood tests known as tumor marker tests, which may have high levels of substances associated with testicular cancer, such as alpha-fetoprotein or beta-human chorionic gonadotropin.
If your physician suspects cancer, it may be necessary to collect your entire testis to obtain a tissue sample. This may not be done when your testis is still in the scrotum because it can induce cancer through the scrotum.
Once diagnosed, tests like pelvic and abdominal CT scans will be conducted to determine if the cancer has spread elsewhere. It is known as staging.
The stages in testicular cancer include:
- Stage 1 is only in testicle.
- Stage 2 spread to the lymphatic glands of the abdomen.
- Stage 3 became widespread in other parts of the body. This type of cancer is widely distributed in the lungs, liver, brain and bones.
Cancer is also classified in terms of its expected response to treatment. The prospects may be good, intermediary or bad.
Treating testicular cancer
There are 3 general types of treatment for testicle cancer. According to the stage of your cancer, you may receive one or more treatments. (2)
Surgery is for the removal of one or both testes and some surrounding lymph nodes at the same stage as treating cancer.
Radiotherapy uses high-power radiation to destroy cancer cells. It can be administered externally as well as internally.
External radiation is a device that directs radiation to the cancer zone or area. Internal radiation includes the use of radioactive seeds or wires located in the impacted area. This form often succeeds in the treatment of seminomas.
Chemotherapy uses medicines to kill cancerous cells. This is systemic treatment, which means it can kill the cancerous cells that have moved to other parts of your body. When taken by mouth or across the veins, It may travel in your blood to kill cancerous cells.
In the highly advanced testicular cancer cases, high-dose chemotherapy can be followed up with stem cell transplantation. After chemotherapy destroys cancer cells, stem cells are administered and converted into healthy bloodcells.
Complications of testicular cancer
Although testicular cancer is a very treatable cancer, it may still spread to other areas of your body. If one or both testes are removed, your fertility can be affected as well. Before you begin treatment, check with your physician about the options available to you to maintain your fertility.