Testicular cancer is a very serious disease. It can strike at any time, anywhere. If left untreated, it can have severe repercussions on a man’s health. But, the good news is that it can be treated if detected early.
According to the National Library of Medicine, this condition is highly treatable, with cure rates of up to 90%. This makes it one of the most treatable forms of cancer. Therefore, it is crucial to be aware of its symptoms and recognize the warning signs. This article can give you a detailed insight into testicular cancer.
How Do Testicles Work?
The testicles are two rounded organs located within the scrotum. The scrotum is a sack of skin found behind the penis. These organs play a key role in the male reproductive system. They generate sperm, which are essential to female egg fertilization. The testicles are also responsible for producing the testosterone hormone.
What Is Testicular Cancer?
Testicular cancer occurs when harmful (cancerous) cells grow in the tissues of one or both testicles. It is a frequent malignancy in male patients between 15 and 45 years old. Men who are diagnosed with this disease face a greater chance of fertility issues and lower testosterone levels.
After radiation therapy, you might experience a drop in sperm production. However, based on studies from the National Cancer Institute, sperm count can recover over the course of 1 to 2 years. If lymph nodes are taken out, it can be more difficult to ejaculate. As the body recovers, the reproductive system often regains its balance and the testicles become healthy again. They should produce sufficient testosterone to bring you back to normal.
What Are the Types of Testicular Cancer?
The majority of testicular cancers (around 90%) are known as germ cell tumors. To plan treatment, doctors categorize these tumors into two main groups: seminomas and nonseminomas. It is important to know these because they have differences that would require different treatment approaches.
- Seminoma – Seminoma is a slow-growing type of cancer that typically affects patients in their 40s or 50s.
- Non-seminoma – Non-seminoma cancers grow more quickly. They mainly impact patients in their late teens, 20s, or early 30s. Non-seminomas are also divided into sub-categories, each named after the type of germ cell that forms the tumor. These men’s cancer types include yolk sac carcinoma, teratoma, embryonal carcinoma, and choriocarcinoma.
In some cases, testicular cancer tumors contain a mix of both non-seminoma and seminoma cells.
How Common Is Testicular Cancer?
For several decades, the occurrence of this disease has been on the rise, primarily in cases of seminomas. In the United States and around the world, about 1 in every 263 are diagnosed with testicular cancer. The Seminars in Interventional Radiology report that this type of cancer is particularly prominent among men between the ages of 15 and 35.
In 2023, the American Cancer Society estimates approximately 9,190 new cases of testicular cancer. About 470 patients may lose their lives to this malignancy. However, experts haven’t been able to pinpoint the exact reasons behind this increase. Recently, the rate of growth has slowed down.
Signs and Symptoms of Testicular Cancer
The symptoms depend on the patient and the type of testicular cancer. Some don’t experience any pain at all. But, their enlarged testicle may start to feel heavy within the scrotum. For others, the abnormal growth can be painful and very uncomfortable.
Want to know how to check for testicular cancer? Observe your body. Here are some of the potential signs to look out for:
- Lump in scrotum (typically the size of a pea, but could be bigger)
- Change in texture of the testicles
- Misshapen or swollen testicles
- Feeling of fullness/heaviness in the scrotum
Discomfort or pain in the affected testicle, groin, lower abdomen, or back
- Fluid build-up in the scrotum
What Are the Causes of Testicular Cancer?
Testicular cancer is a complex disease. Based on a study from the Nature Reviews Disease Primers, both environmental and genetic factors can cause this type of malignancy. Some factors, however, increase the likelihood of developing the disease. These include:
- Genetic predisposition – especially if you have a brother or a father who was previously diagnosed with the condition.
- AIDS and HIV
- Personal risk – if you previously had cancer in one of your testicles, you are at a higher risk of developing the same malignancy in the other testicle.
- Being born with an undescended testicle
- Specific physical traits – such as being born with a condition called Hypospadias where the opening of the urethra (the tube through which urine passes) is on the underside of the penis rather than at the tip.
- Regularly using cannabis
- Having intersex conditions, like partial androgen insensitivity syndrome
Want to know more about the swollen testicles causes? Scrotal swelling doesn’t always mean there is cancer. The swelling could be a sign of many things, such as infection, injury, fluid build-up, sexually transmitted infection, or cyst among other things. Consult with a specialist if you notice any abnormalities in your testicles or scrotum.
Who Gets Testicular Cancer?
Typically, men receive their first diagnosis around the age of 33. Even though testicular cancer primarily affects young and middle-aged men, around 6% of cases occur in children and teenagers while approximately 8% occur in men over the age of 55. Having any of the following risk factors can make you more prone to developing the condition.
- Family History – Studies demonstrated that if your father was diagnosed with testicular cancer, then the odds are 4 to 5 times higher for you to develop the disease. The risks are 8 to 9 times higher if you have a brother diagnosed with the same malignancy.
Undescended Testicles – According to the Indian Journal of Surgical Oncology, about 5% to 10% of men with undescended testicles developed testicular malignancy. The disease occurs usually in their 30s or 40s.
- GCNIS – GCNIS (Germ Cell Neoplasia In Situ) means there is a presence of abnormal cells within the testicle. This is not cancer. But, GCNIS has the potential to progress into cancer. Approximately 50% of men diagnosed with GCNIS develop a malignancy in a span of 5 years.
- Being a Young Adult – In younger men, the testicles are more active, creating both testosterone and sperm, which can increase the odds of cancer.
- Being White – Caucasians tend to be more prone to this condition compared to other ethnic backgrounds. This increased risk has a combination of environmental, genetic, and hormonal factors.
What Are the Stages of Testicular Cancer?
The first phase of testicular cancer is stage 0, also known as GCNIS. The subsequent phases go from I (1) to III (3). There isn’t a stage IV (4) for this type of malignancy. Certain stages have additional divisions, indicated by capital letters (A, B, and so forth).
How Is Testicular Cancer Diagnosed?
During your appointment, you can expect the doctors to have a look or examine your testicles. They will look for any abnormalities, such as a lump on the testicle or swelling. They then suggest you do an ultrasound and blood test.
Prevention of Testicular Cancer
You can’t prevent testicular cancer but you can give your body the support it needs to function properly. With the Virectin male enhancement supplement, you can get your testosterone production and prostate health back on track. The product is packed with organic ingredients, which can boost stamina and sexual desire. It provides an optimal dosage of powerful extracts, herbs, minerals, and vitamins that can improve your sexual performance.
Management and Treatment
Surgery is the go-to choice for removing the malignancy. In some cases, doctors may recommend radiotherapy or chemotherapy.
Your exact treatment plan will vary based on the stage of your malignancy and whether you have non-seminoma or seminoma. Patients with higher stages require more aggressive treatment. Talk to your doctor to discuss the best form of treatment that can work for you.
What are the 5 warning signs of testicular cancer?
The five red flags for this type of malignancy are usually a lump on the testicle, swelling, feeling of heaviness, dull pain in the groin, and tenderness in the affected area.
Is testicular cancer very curable?
This condition has a relatively high rehabilitation rate if spotted early. That’s why it is critical to recognize the symptoms and be aware of their risk factors. If you notice any abnormalities, even those that don’t include pain, book an appointment with your urologist or primary care physician.
What cancer is curable for men?
Both testicular and prostate cancer can be cured. Treatment usually involves surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy. If the cancer has not spread, there is a good chance that patients can make a full recovery. Only a doctor can suggest the ideal form of treatment.
All men should be mindful of their testicles’ condition. Testicular cancer can present itself as a firm or soft mass. It is often painless but can cause a sense of heaviness in the scrotum. For others, the heaviness can come with pain, even in the lower back. With the help of a health expert, you can get the treatment and care you need. It’s best to see a specialist as soon as you detect any changes in your testicle shape and texture.