What is testicular cancer?
Testicular cancer is a disease that occurs when malignant or cancerous cells develop in the tissues of the testicles. Although rare, these cells can develop in the tissues of both the testicles. The disease is generally curable.
Testicles or testes, scrotum, and penis.
Causes of Testicular Cancer
So far, experts have not understood the exact causes of testicular cancer. However, some factors can increase the risk of developing this cancer. These factors are as follows:
- Undescended testicles: Men born with cryptorchidism have a higher chance of suffering from testicular cancer.
- Family history: Testicular cancer might also run through generations from the parent to the child.
- HIV infection: Viruses that cause AIDS can lead to testicular cancer.
- Previous diagnosis: Men treated for cancer in one testicle have a 4% chance of getting it again in the other testicle.
- Problems before birth: Complications related to your mother's pregnancy can play an important role. These include estrogen or hormone therapy and abnormal bleeding.
- Other disorders: Men suffering from other genetic conditions like Down syndrome have higher chances of suffering from testicular cancer.
Signs or Symptoms of Testicular Cancer
- Feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
- Sudden fluid gathering or swelling in the scrotum
- Swelling or lump in any of the testicles
- Discomfort or pain in the testicles or the scrotum
- Dull ache in the lower abdomen or groin
- Shrinking testicle
Possible Treatments For Testicular Cancer
There are three main types of treatment for testicular cancer. They are as follows:
- Surgery: Surgery involves removing the testicle and the associated lymph nodes. This procedure is called orchiectomy and lymph node dissection. Doctors might perform surgery for removing tumors from the liver or lungs if they have not disappeared after chemotherapy.
- Chemotherapy: This treatment involves using certain drugs like bleomycin, etoposide, and cisplatin to kill the cancer cells.
- Radiation therapy: In radiation therapy, high-dose X-rays are used for killing cancer cells.
A variety of risk factors can increase the chances of testicular cancer.
- Race: White men or non-Hispanic men have higher chances of developing testicular cancer than men of other ethnicities and races.
- Infertility: Infertile men are at a greater risk of developing testicular cancer. The same factors that cause infertility might also be associated with the development of this cancer.
- Family or personal history: Men with fathers or brothers who had testicular cancer are more likely to develop the condition. Even men who have had cancer in one testicle might suffer from the same in another testicle.
Stages of Testicular Cancer
- Stage 0: Abnormal cells develop but remain confined within the tubules where the sperm cells develop.
- Stage I: It includes Stages IA, IB, and IS. Stage IA is where cancer remains confined to the epididymis, and the testicle with tumor markers remains normal. Cancer invades the lymphatics or blood vessels within the testicles in stage IB. Cancer within the spermatic cord, testicles, and scrotum marks stage IS.
- Stage II: In stage IIA, cancer spreads to a maximum of five lymph nodes in the abdomen. In stage IIB, cancer spreads to more than five nodes, and in stage IIC, cancer spreads to a minimum of one lymph node in the abdomen, which is larger than 5cm in diameter.
- Stage III: Stage IIIA is where cancer spreads to the lymph nodes beyond the abdomen. In stage IIIB, cancer spreads to the lymph nodes in the abdomen and lungs. In Stage IIIC, cancer spreads to organs other than the lungs like the brain, bones, and liver.
Ultrasound is the standard test used for detecting testicular cancer. Medical history or physical examination can help doctors look for issues related to this form of cancer. A serum tumor marker test is also helpful in examining blood samples for measuring the amounts of substances linked to cancers. Experts can perform inguinal orchiectomy and biopsy, where a tissue sample from the testicle gets tested for the growth of cancer cells.
The risk factors for testicular cancer are unchangeable. This is why it is not possible to prevent cases of this cancer.
- Experts suggest correcting cryptorchidism in boys for several reasons, like body image and preserving fertility. But it is not clear how much this can change the risk of testicular cancer in a child.
- Eating a diet high in vegetables and fruits and low in fat
- Exercising regularly
- Quitting smoking
Germ cell tumor is the most common type of testicular cancer. This category includes two primary kinds: seminoma and non-seminomatous germ cell tumors. Both these tumors occur at the same rate, and men can suffer from a combination of both.
- Testicular cancer is relatively rare, accounting for merely 1% of all cancers in men. Nevertheless, in the majority of the countries, this cancer is the most common condition in young men between ages 15 and 35.
- 98% of the testicular cancers are germ cell tumors, with the remaining 2% being sex cord tumors.
The prognosis for testicular cancer is accurate for most men and can be treated successfully in 95% of the cases. Also, men with unfavourable risk factors have a 50% chance of receiving proper treatment.
If left untreated, testicular cancer can eventually spread to the liver, lungs, brain, and other parts of the body. Certain testicular cancers have higher chances of spreading than others.
Testicular somatic cell tumors, also called sex cord-stromal neoplasms, are rare, but they can have endocrine manifestations like gynecomastia or puberty. Apart from its dangerous features, testicular cancer represents an endocrine, reproductive, and developmental problem.
The possible complications of advanced testicular cancer are as follows:
- Lower back pain
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
- Dyspnea or shortness of breath
- Chronic cough
- Hemoptysis or coughing up blood
Our Medical Testicular Cancer Treatment in Mumbai, India Experts
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