Testicular Cancer

shw fig11IMAGE 11: Testicular CancerFeatures

Symptoms may include one or more of the following:

  • A lump in one testis or a hardening of one or both of the testicles.
  • Abnormal sensitivity e.g. numbness or pain.
  • Decrease in libido.
  • Sexual withdrawal.
  • Build-up fluid in the scrotum.
  • Dull ache in the lower abdomen or groin.
  • A significant increase or decrease in the size of one testis. A testicle with a tumor may be severely enlarged (as much as 3 times the original size). Simultaneously the other testicle may be shrunken in size due to the fact that the tumor is taking the majority of the blood supply.
  • Blood in semen.
  • Generally weak and tired (malaise).
  • A testicle mass can be palpated and may be an early sign. Because of the success rate of testicular cancer, early detection is vital. It is suggested that men should perform a monthly examination on their testes after a hot bath/shower when the testes are looser. Feel for pea-shape lumps or any suspicious changes.

Epidemiology

Although malignant testicular cancer is a quite rare, its medical importance is growing due to a rapid growth in incidence. Incidence has increased by 80% in the period 1968–2003. Diagnostic and treatment delay may have an impact on overall survival. The best chance of decreasing mortality is early detection.

Causes

  • The causes of testicular cancer are unknown, but the number of men who develop testicular cancer is increasing and research is being conducted to explore why.
  • Men born with an undescended testicle (one that remains in the abdominal cavity rather than descending into the scrotum) may be at greater risk of developing testicular cancer.
  • Other factors that are thought to make testicular cancer more likely include:
    • having a brother or father who had testicular cancer;
    • pre-existing fertility problems;
    • being white rather than of African or Asian descent;
    • having a rare complication of mumps called orchitis (painful swelling of the testicles).
  • Having a vasectomy or injury to the testicles does not cause testicular cancer.

Treatment

The tree basic treatments for testicle cancer are:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
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