Testicular Cancer Awareness Month

April 16, 2016 –Testicular cancer is one of the most common cancers seen in males today. This cancer is found to begin in the testes, which are located inside the scrotum and are responsible for producing the male hormones and help in sperm production. Testicular cancer can affect an adult male of nearly any age and can be caused by a number of various factors. Testicular cancer can lead to serious complications and, if it spreads to other parts of the body, can also be fatal. Prompt detection and treatment of testicular cancer is vital to saving the patient’s health and even life.

Testicular cancer is quite rare as compared to other cancers however it is becoming increasingly common nowadays in male adults between the ages of 15 and 35 years. It is mostly signified by the formation of an unexplained lump in either testicles and the scrotum may feel heavy as well. Back pain and a constant but dull ache in the groin can also signal the presence of testicular cancer. It is advisable to see a doctor in case you feel the above-mentioned symptoms along with accumulation of fluid as well as pain or discomfort in the testicles or the scrotum. It is highly advisable to see a doctor in case any of the signs or symptoms of testicular cancer are noticed.

The causes of testicular cancer are not known in most of the cases however the origin of the cancer is caused due to an abnormality in the healthy cells of the testicles. When these healthy cells are affected by cancerous cells they start to multiply at a higher-than-normal rate and form lumps of tissue in the testicles in the beginning. Nearly all the testicular cancer cells are found to begin in the germ cells which are responsible for production of immature sperm. There are several factors that are known to increase the risk of testicular cancer such as an undescended testicle, abnormal testicle development (such as Klinefelter’s syndrome), genetics (may be hereditary) or it may be caused due to advancing age or a particular race group.

The diagnosis of a testicular cancer is usually initiated with a thorough physical examination and if the doctor can feel a significant lump in the testicle further diagnostic tests will be advised. Ultrasound test can help the doctor create a clear image of the testicles using high-frequency sound waves and this helps to check for visible lumps in the scrotum. Blood tests are advised in order to ascertain the levels of the tumor markers in the blood.

Testicular cancer is categorized according to its area of spread (metastasizing) into Stage 1 (cancer limited to testicle), Stage II (cancer spread to lymph nodes in abdomen) and Stage III (cancer has affected other organs as well) using certain staging techniques such as a computerized tomography (CT) scan as well as a blood test to check for the level of tumor markers in it. Apart from staging the testicular cancer is also divided into ‘Seminoma’ (usually seen affecting older men) and ‘Nonseminoma’ (this is a faster growing cancer and spreads quicker).

Testicular cancer can surely be treated successfully if it is detected at an early stage of growth and an experienced oncologist is used to perform the treatment. There are several different testicular cancer treatment options available today. The surgical treatment method has been found to be the most effective method of treatment for testicular cancer. This surgery can be performed either as a ‘Radical Inguinal Orchiectomy which involves removing the testicles completely. This requires making an incision in the groin to reach the affected testicle and extract it. The surgeon will then replace the removed testicle with a prosthetic one filled with a sterile saline solution. The other surgical treatment method for testicular cancer involves removing the lymph nodes using the ‘Retroperitoneal Lymph Node Dissection’ method. This requires making an incision in the abdomen and using it to access the lymph nodes without disturbing the nerves and the blood vessels. Surgical treatment is most suitable to treat early-stage testicular cancers of all types.

The alternative testicular cancer treatment methods include radiation therapy which involves using a high-powered bean of light-energy (x-ray, etc) to target the cancer cells. This is mostly useful in treating the Seminoma type of testicular cancer. Chemotherapy is another effective method of treating testicular cancer. This requires using various medicinal drugs to target the cancer cells and their ability to multiply. This helps to control the abnormal growth of the cancer cells as well as destroy the existing cancer cells from the body.

After care and rehabilitation after testicular cancer treatment is vital to the success of the cancer treatment.

Testicular cancer is fast becoming one of the growing cancers in men worldwide. Prompt and immediate diagnosis along with the choice of cancer treatment decides the success of any testicular cancer case.

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