Located in a loose skin below the penis (called the sac) and contained by the scrotum, the male testicles are the ones that produce the reproductive sperm as well as the male sex hormone. Unfortunately, the testicles are not safe from developing cancer. Among male individuals between 15 to 34 years of age, testicular cancer is statistically the most widespread type of cancer. Unfortunately due to the fear of public embarrassment, testicular cancer has a very low rating on several people’s awareness scale.
Testicular Cancer Types
Testicular cancer has two basic types:
- Seminoma Testicular Cancer - affects men the range from 35 to 55 years of age. This type has a higher survival rate than the other one and is rarer.
- Nonseminoma Testicular Cancer - affects younger men and even teenagers. The patient struggles more during this type and has a lower rate of survival. It is more fatal when left undiagnosed and a whole lot harder to treat.
What Causes Testicular Cancer?
Similar to many cancers, doctors still remain somewhat clueless as to the determining factors directly related to the causation of testicular cancer. Because of this, Testicular Self Examination (TSE) is being recommended to all male individuals starting the age of 13. This is in order to detect the impending presence of testicular cancer as early as possible. Early diagnosis definitely is the key to a better prognosis and higher chances of survival.
Unluckily, testicular cancer is also one of those cancers that have very difficult to detect early manifestations. In fact, there may be no evidence of symptoms at all during the early stages of the cancer. There could already be symptoms present during the secondary early stages, but very seldom does it happen.
If the symptoms do start to appear, they may include all of the following:
- an unexplained and abrupt fluid buildup in one of the scrotums
- a dull sensation in the groin or abdomen
- a heavy feeling in one or both scrotums
- a feeling of being ill
- a lump on either testicle
Additionally, the cancer would typically attack only one testicle. Rarely will two testicles be affected at one time.
The only two things that can predispose an individual to testicular cancer are gender and age. Females obviously have zero risk of suffering from this cancer since they anatomically do not have testicles. And as mentioned earlier, the onset of testicular cancer usually takes place between ages 15 to 34.
AIDS or simply being exposed to Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) can precipitate any male individual to testicular cancer. They can also be prone to suffering from other various types of cancer.
How Can It Be Diagnosed?
To confirm the presence of testicular cancer, a series of diagnostic exams are being done. Initially, a head to toe physical is conducted while giving emphasis to the testicular area. Any lumps in either testicle will be palpated and then everything will follow next. Imaging studies like Ultrasound exam usually follow to give a better visualization of the possible cancer. The final determining diagnostic test will be a biopsy since there might be cases where the growth in the testicle is only a benign (non-cancerous) cyst. Conducting these tests is merely a formality of what the underlying disease really is. This is because there practically is no other disease involving lumps in the testicular area other than testicular cancer.
What Are The Risks Involved?
The worst complication one can experience from testicular cancer is the possibility of losing one testicle. This is definitely a bad thing, image-wise. But it should be noted that both testicles are not necessarily needed to be fertile. In fact, men can still remain sexually active even without BOTH testicles though their impregnating capabilities are already in jeopardy. This is where sperm freezing would come into play since it helps give these individuals a chance to still have children of their own.
Since testicular cancer is a unique kind of cancer, so are the ways of treating it. Aside from the traditional chemotherapy, the other basic treatment modalities opted for are self donating bone marrow transplant (the removal of the patient’s bone marrow to treat it directly radiation and chemotherapy), external beam radiation, and radical inguinal orchiectomy (the surgical removal of the affected testicle along with possibly a few lymph nodes in the abdominal region). Occasionally, the patient may be given the option to surgically implant and artificial testicle in the event the cancerous one had to be taken out. This, however, does not have any therapeutic implications. What will be needed more is psychological counseling in order to help cope up with the lose of one testicle and an altered ability to perform at a high level sexually.
Becenun, Bicnu, Carmubris, Carmustin, Carmustine, Cytarabine, Cytoxan, Dactinomycin, Epirubicin, Etoposide, Filgrastim, Fulvestrant, Platinol, Ifex, Gliadel, Idarubicin, Nitrumon, Ondansetron, Vepesid