Testicular cancer is the growth of malignant, or cancerous, cells in one or both of the testicles. It can occur at any age but frequently strikes young men between the ages of 15 and 35 years old. With an early diagnosis, testicular cancer is highly treatable.
Cause of Testicular Cancer
While the cause of testicular cancer is uncertain, there are several known risk factors that may include:
- Family history
- A previously undescended testicle
- Prior testicular cancer
- Abnormal testicle development
Symptoms of Testicular Cancer
In some cases, testicular cancer shows no symptoms. Symptoms of testicular cancer may include:
- Pain or heaviness around the testicle
- Swelling of the testicle
- Increase in the size of a testicle
- Testicular lump
- Abdominal or back pain
- Excess development of breast tissue
It is important to contact a urologist at the first sign of any symptoms as the cancer may begin to spread to other areas.
Diagnosis of Testicular Cancer
To diagnose testicular cancer, a physician will perform a physical examination of the testicles and scrotum to detect the presence of a lump. Other diagnostic tests may include:
- Blood Tests
- CT scan
Stages of Testicular Cancer
Once testicular cancer is diagnosed, the doctor will determine which stage of cancer is present in the testicles and body. The stages of testicular cancer include:
Stage I - Cancer has not spread beyond the testicle.
Stage II - Cancer has spread to lymph nodes in the abdomen.
Stage III - Cancer has spread beyond the lymph nodes and possibly to other organs such as the liver, lungs,or brain.
Treatment of Testicular Cancer
A doctor will devise a treatment plan for each patient, depending upon the particular condition and the stage at which the cancer was discovered. Treatment methods for testicular cancer may include:
Surgery - Surgical removal of the testicle and possibly the nearby lymph nodes.
Radiation - Therapy using high dose X-rays may be used after surgery to prevent the tumor from returning.
Chemotherapy - Use of drugs to kill cancer cells.
Prevention of Testicular Cancer
It is unclear whether testicular cancer can be prevented. Doctors recommend a regular testicular self-examination to detect the cancer in its earliest stage.
- National Institutes of Health
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
- U.S. National Library of Medicine