Testicular Cancer: Signs, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment Options
Testicular cancer is a relatively rare type of cancer that affects the testicles, the male reproductive glands responsible for producing sperm and testosterone. Although it is rare, it is the most common type of cancer that affects men between the ages of 15 and 35. In this article, we will discuss the signs, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for testicular cancer.
What is Testicular Cancer?
Testicular cancer is a type of cancer that occurs in the testicles, the two oval-shaped glands located inside the scrotum. It develops when the cells in the testicles start to grow and divide uncontrollably, leading to the formation of a tumor.
Types of Testicular Cancer
There are two main types of testicular cancer:
- Seminoma: This type of cancer develops in the germ cells that produce sperm. It grows slowly and is less aggressive than non-seminoma tumors.
- Non-seminoma: This type of cancer develops in the germ cells and is more aggressive than seminoma tumors.
Signs and Symptoms of Testicular Cancer
The signs and symptoms of testicular cancer may include:
- A lump or swelling in the testicle
- Pain or discomfort in the testicle or scrotum
- A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
- A dull ache in the lower abdomen or groin
- Enlargement or tenderness of the breasts
It is important to note that not all lumps or swelling in the testicles are cancerous. However, if you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
Diagnosis of Testicular Cancer
If you experience any symptoms of testicular cancer, your doctor will perform a physical exam and may order some tests to diagnose the condition.
It is important to perform regular self-examinations of the testicles to check for any lumps or swelling. This can be done by gently rolling each testicle between the thumb and fingers. If you notice any changes or abnormalities, it is important to seek medical attention.
Imaging tests such as ultrasound, CT scans, and MRI scans can help your doctor to identify any tumors or abnormalities in the testicles.
Blood tests such as alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) and human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) can help your doctor to diagnose testicular cancer and determine the type and stage of the cancer.
Treatment Options for Testicular Cancer
The treatment options for testicular cancer depend on the type and stage of the cancer.
Surgery is the most common treatment for testicular cancer. The affected testicle may be removed in a procedure called a radical inguinal orchiectomy. In some cases, the lymph nodes in the abdomen may also need to be removed.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells. It is sometimes used after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells.
Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. It is often used to treat testicular cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.
In some cases, your doctor may recommend surveillance, which involves monitoring the cancer without any active treatment. This may be an option if the cancer is in its early stages and has not spread.
Testicular cancer is a rare but treatable form of cancer that affects men of all ages. Early detection and treatment are crucial for a successful outcome. If you experience any symptoms of testicular cancer, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.