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Know the Signs of Testicular Cancer

Know the Signs of Testicular Cancer

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Statistics show that one in 250 men will experience testicular cancer in their lifetime. The average age of diagnosis is around 33, though 6% of cases are diagnosed in adolescents, and 8% are discovered in men 55 and older.

Fortunately for those diagnosed, testicular cancer is one of the most treatable forms of cancer, even when the cancer has spread beyond the testicle. If caught early enough, most men are able to make a full recovery through one of several treatments, or a combination of multiple.

What is testicular cancer?

Testicular cancer occurs in the testes, or testicles, egg shaped organs located within the loose pouch of skin beneath the penis called the scrotum. Testicles are reproductive glands that produce male sex hormones and sperm. Over 90% of testicular cancer cases originate in germ cells, specialized cells that make sperm, though testicular cancer can begin in other kinds of cells as well.

The type of testicular cancer depends on the kind of cell from which it originates. Each form of testicular cancer has its own unique set of characteristics, such as growth rate, risk of spreading, and the ages at which a person is most likely to develop that specific form of cancer.

Signs and symptoms of testicular cancer may include:

  • A lump or enlargement in either testicle
  • A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
  • A dull ache in the abdomen or groin
  • A sudden collection of fluid in the scrotum
  • Pain or discomfort in a testicle or the scrotum
  • Enlargement or tenderness of breast tissue
  • General back pain

It is important to note that testicular cancer typically only affects one of the testicles.

What causes testicular cancer?

Unfortunately, in most cases of testicular cancer, a root cause is not clear.

Testicular cancer can occur when the healthy cells within the testicle are changed or altered in any way. Sometimes cells can develop abnormalities, causing growth to become out of control - the cells continue to divide even when new cells are not needed. These accumulating cells join and form a mass within the testicle.

Nearly all testicular cancers start in the germ cells, but what causes germ cells to become abnormal and evolve into cancer is still unknown.

What are the risk factors for testicular cancer?

There are a few factors that could increase your likelihood of developing testicular cancer, and those include:

  • An Undescended Testicle - Men with a testicle that has never descended are at greater risk for developing testicular cancer. However, a majority of cases develop in men with no history of an undescended testicle.
  • Abnormal Testicle Development - Conditions that cause testicles to develop abnormally, such as Klinefelter syndrome may increase the risk of testicular cancer.
  • Family History of Testicular Cancer - If a family member has been diagnosed with testicular cancer, you may have an increased risk.
  • Age - Testicular cancer most commonly affects teens and younger men, usually between the ages of 15 and 35. However, it can occur at any age.
  • Race - Testicular cancer is most common in white males.

How do you prevent testicular cancer?

While there is no way to prevent testicular cancer, performing self-examinations to identify testicular abnormalities is an easy way to potentially detect the cancer at its earliest stages.

Self-examinations for testicular cancer can be performed in three easy steps:

  1. Cup one testicle at a time using both hands. This is best performed during or after a warm bath or shower.
  2. Examine by rolling the testicle between your thumb and fingers. Make sure to apply slight pressure.
  3. Familiarize yourself with the spermatic cord and epididymis, the tube-like structure that connects on the backside of each testicle.
  4. Feel for lumps, changes in size, or irregularities. Keep in mind, it is perfectly normal for one testicle to be slightly larger than the other.

How is testicular cancer treated?

Testicular cancer can usually be treated successfully, and a man’s lifetime risk of dying from this cancer is extremely low: about one in 5,000.

Urology Associates of Mobile will work closely with you or your diagnosed loved one to develop an individualized treatment plan that works for you.

Though testicular cancer is often treated with surgery, chemotherapy is essential in late-stage testicular cancer to reduce the risk of recurrence. Your treatment plan may also include radiation therapy.

In the event that a patient needs a high dose of chemotherapy, the expert team of urologists at Urology Associates of Mobile may combine your treatment with stem cell transplants to restore bone marrow that is sometimes damaged by chemotherapy medications.

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If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the symptoms of or related to testicular cancer, request an appointment today. With a long history of treating testicular cancer, we are well-versed in advanced chemotherapy and multidisciplinary treatments, while we move towards the ultimate goal of a cure.

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Statistics show that one in 250 men will experience testicular cancer in their lifetime. The average age of diagnosis is around 33, though 6% of cases are diagnosed in adolescents, and 8% are discovered in men 55 and older. Fortunately for those diagnosed, testicular cancer is one of the most treatable forms of cancer, even…

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Statistics show that one in 250 men will experience testicular cancer in their lifetime. The average age of diagnosis is around 33, though 6% of cases are diagnosed in adolescents, and 8% are discovered in men 55 and older. Fortunately for those diagnosed, testicular cancer is one of the most treatable forms of cancer, even…