Testicular cancer is most common among males aged fifteen to forty years old, and it has one of the highest cure rates of all cancers. In about ninety percent who have testicular cancer, essentially one hundred percent if it has not spread. Even in a few cases where it has spread widely, chemotherapy offers a cure rate of at least fifty percent.
Testicular cancer also sometimes called germ cell tumor, is a cancer that develops in a testicle (a part of the male reproductive system). Most testicular cancers are first found out by men themselves when they encounter a tumor when doing a testicular self-examination or by accident. The testicles are smooth, oval-shaped, and rather firm. For men who examine themselves regularly is familiar with the way their testicles feel and any changes in them should be reported to the doctor without delay.
The precise cause of this disease is still unknown. Any man can develop testicular cancer but the disease accounts for only one percent of all cancers in men in the United States. In most other types of cancer in men, most affect older men (or children), but this cancer most often occurs in young post-adolescent men. This disease not contagious and no one can “catch” testicular cancer from another person. Research has shown that the risk is higher than average for boys born with their testicle in the lower abdomen rather than in the scrotum. If not corrected in early childhood, boys with this condition (called undescended testicles or cryptorchidism) has higher cancer risk. Other risk factors include congenital abnormalities, history of testicular cancer of the patient and in the family.
Warning Signs and Symptoms:
* A lump in either testicle;
* Any enlargement of a testicle;
* A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum;
* A dull ache in the lower abdomen or in the groin;
* A sudden collection of fluid in the scrotum;
* Pain or discomfort in a testicle or in the scrotum;
* Enlargement or tenderness of the breasts
These symptoms are not sure signs of cancer, and they can be caused by other conditions; however it is always important to see a doctor if any of these symptoms lasts as long as two weeks. If illnesses and diseases, particularly cancer is diagnosed early, the better chance for recovery.
The three basic types of treatment for the disease are surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
Surgery. This treatment involves removing the testicle through incision in the groin which is called radical inguinal orchiectomy. Men may be concerned of the surgery affecting their ability to have sexual intercourse or make them sterile, however a man having one healthy testicle can still have a normal erection and produce sperm, therefore an operation to remove one testicle does not make a man impotent and seldom interferes with fertility.
Radiation Therapy. This treatment involves the use of high-energy rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. It is a local therapy which means it affects cancer cells only in the treated area.
Chemotherapy. This treatment uses anticancer drugs to kill cancer cells. When this type of treatment is given to a cancer patient, it is usually given as adjuvant therapy (after surgery) to destroy cancerous cells that may remain in the body.
It is natural to have many different and sometimes confusing emotions when a man learns that he has testicular cancer. Patients are usually better able to handle these feelings if they talk about their illness and share their feelings to family members and friends. Life can change for them and for people who care about them.