Testicular Cancer


This week we will continue the theme of “men’s health” paying particular attention to Testicular Cancer. Testicular cancer is cancer that affects the testes.

Primary testicular tumors are the most common solid malignant tumor in men 20 to 35 years of age in the United States. For unknown reasons, the incidence of this cancer has increased during the last century. Even though the incidence is on the increase, testicular cancer is still a very rare cancer accounting for 1% of the cancers in men.

It is more common in the younger age group. More than half of the people who are diagnosed with testicular cancer are between age 20 and 45. However, people of any age can develop this disease, including those in their teens and in their 60s.

The most significant risk factor for developing testicular cancer is undescended testes. This means one or both testes do not move down into the scrotum before birth. This risk of developing testicular cancer from undescended testis can be reduced by doing surgery to fix the problem before puberty. If the surgery is done early at 6 to 15 months it can also help preserve fertility.

Other risk factors for developing testicular cancer include a family history of testicular cancer. A person who has a close relative, particularly a sibling, who has had testicular cancer has an increased risk of developing testicular cancer.

People who have had cancer in 1 testicle have an increased risk of developing cancer in the other testicle. It is estimated that out of every 100 people with testicular cancer, 2 will develop cancer in the other testicle.

People with testicular cancer may experience a variety of symptoms or signs.

Symptoms of testicular cancer may include; a painless lump or swelling on either testicle, Pain, discomfort, or numbness in a testicle or the scrotum, heaviness in the scrotum, unequal testes, dull ache in the lower abdomen or groin, sudden build-up of fluid in the scrotum and breast tenderness or growth.

It is advisable for patients to do monthly self-screening of the testes after the age of 15. This self-examination is best done after a warm shower of bath as its easier to pick up the lumps if any.

Treatment options and recommendations depend on several factors, including the type and stage of cancer, possible side effects, and the patient’s preferences and overall health. The first treatment for testicular cancer is usually surgery to remove the testicle. After surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy may be recommended.

Testicular cancers often show a good response to therapy. It is important for young man to perform regular self-examinations to be able to pick it up so as to give appropriate treatment.


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