of the testicles accounts for only about one percent of all cancers
in men. But, it is the most common type of cancer in males ages
16 to 35, and it can occur anytime after age fifteen.
only one testicle is affected. The cause of testicular cancer is
still unknown. Risk factors, however, have been found. These include:
Uncorrected undescended testicles in infants and young
children. (Parents should make sure that their infant boys are checked
at birth for undescended testicles.)
A family history of testicular cancer. (If you dont
Having an identical twin with testicular cancer.
Injury to the scrotum or to a testicle.
Its five times more common among Caucasian than
By doing a TSE
monthly, you can find a potential tumor early! Testicular
cancer is highly curable, especially when detected and treated early.
In the early
stages, testicular cancer may have no symptoms. In general about
70 or 80 percent of men will have with some painless swelling or
firmness to the testicle. It is either noticed by the man or by
their sexual partner. Because it's painless, many patients may think
it is harmless and there can be a long delay before they actually
seek attention by their physician. When there are symptoms, they
painless lump in a testicle.
of heaviness in the testicle or groin.
in the testicle.
change in the way the testicle feels.
male breasts and or nipples.
or fluid that accumulates suddenly in the scrotum.
Tests Are Usually Done For a Diagnosis?
goes to the doctor with an area that's suspicious for a tumor, the
first part of the process is a physical examination, checking the
scrotum and the testes to see what the abnormality is. There are
two blood tests that are used to look for what are called tumor
markers. These are two markers that are normally not present in
adult males, but in men with testicular cancer they may be elevated.
Sometimes a scrotum ultrasound is done to see what's happening inside
the scrotum also.
is A Biopsy Recommended?
there is a suspicious mass in the testicle, or if the ultrasound
shows a mass within the testicle, then the proper approach is to
explore this through an incision in the groin. A biopsy through
the scrotum is generally not performed because of the risk of "spilling"
some tumor cells into the scrotum and lymph nodes.
Are the Treatments Besides Surgery?
Treatment Generally Successful?
surgery in which one or both testicles are removed, the therapy
for a testicular tumor really depends on the subtype of tumor. If
it's seminoma and you've done the staging studies and there is no
extensive disease, the standard therapy in the past has been radiation
therapy to the lymph nodes and to the tissue that lines the abdomen,
cancer has become one of the most curable solid malignancies for
patients with low-stage disease; the cure rate approaches 100 percent.
Even for patients with intermediate or early-advanced disease, the
cure rates are better than 85 percent. This really is because of
the development of effective chemotherapy and effective surgical
approaches, as well as radiation for selected patients.
Sexual Function And Fertility Be Affected By Treatments?
certainly can be affected by treatment. Chemotherapy also adversely
affects sperm production. Approximately half of the patients will
recover fertility within approximately two years. Prior to chemotherapy
semen can be "donated" and frozen for use later on in
life. (Lance Armstrong did that).
can have some impact on ejaculations. There are certain nerves in
the surgical area that control ejaculation and with the techniques
utilized nowadays that spare nerves, 95 to 100 percent of men will
retain ejaculation. Erectile problems are usually spared.
To Do A TSE
yourself right after a hot shower. The skin of the
scrotum is then relaxed and soft.
familiar with the normal size, shape and weight of
both hands, gently roll each testicle between your
the epididymis. This is a rope-like structure on the
top and back of each testicle. This structure is NOT
an abnormal lump.
on the alert for a tiny lump under the skin, in front
or along the sides of either testicle. A lump may
remind you of a piece of uncooked rice or a small
any swelling to your health care provider.
If you have
any lumps or swelling, it does not necessarily mean you have cancer,
but you must be checked by your health care provider.
BTW, I lost
a brother-in-law to testicular cancer in 1983. He was only 19 years
old. At that time the treatment that was used was limited to a different
kind of chemotherapy that is used today. What I want to share with
you is this: his parents never told the family where the cancer
that killed him by invading most of his organs started. This is
NOT uncommon still today.
not be a stigma attached to any cancer, regardless of the location
and no fear that the cancer might be contagious. That is often a
cruel lesson many cancer patients learn. If you are a young man,
do your TSE every month, learn what your testicles feel like, so you'll know
if you feel any changes. When in doubt, see your health care provider or urologist. ~