Testicular cancer: what you need to know

April is the month of Testicular cancer awareness The testicles are located inside a loose bag of skin (scrotum) underneath the penis.Cancer in the male organs that make male hormones and sperm (testicles). Testicular cancer usually affects young men,age 15 - 34, in their prime of youth. If not detected early could lead to death.

Testicular cancer occurs in the testicles (testes), which are located inside the scrotum, a loose bag of skin underneath the penis. The testicles produce male sex hormones and sperm for reproduction.

 

Compared with other types of cancer, testicular cancer is rare. But testicular cancer is the most common cancer in American males between the ages of 15 and 35.

 

 
Testicular cancer is highly treatable, even when cancer has spread beyond the testicle. Depending on the type and stage of testicular cancer, you may receive one of several treatments, or a combination.

 

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Testicular Cancer

Signs and symptoms of testicular cancer include:

A lump or enlargement in either testicle
A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
A dull ache in the abdomen or groin
A sudden collection of fluid in the scrotum
Pain or discomfort in a testicle or the scrotum
Enlargement or tenderness of the breasts
Back pain

 

However, it should be noted that Cancer usually affects only one testicle.  When detected early, 99% of guys can survive after treatment. As such, early detection is key for every man.

When to see a doctor
See your doctor if you detect any pain, swelling or lumps in your testicles or groin area, especially if these signs and symptoms last longer than two weeks.

Causes
It's not clear what causes testicular cancer in most cases.

Doctors know that testicular cancer occurs when healthy cells in a testicle become altered. Healthy cells grow and divide in an orderly way to keep your body functioning normally. But sometimes some cells develop abnormalities, causing this growth to get out of control — these cancer cells continue dividing even when new cells aren't needed. The accumulating cells form a mass in the testicle.

Nearly all testicular cancers begin in the germ cells — the cells in the testicles that produce immature sperm. What causes germ cells to become abnormal and develop into cancer isn't known.

 

What are the Risk Factors that Increase the Chances for Developing Testicular Cancer?

Factors that may increase your risk of testicular cancer include:

An undescended testicle (cryptorchidism). The testes form in the abdominal area during fetal development and usually descend into the scrotum before birth. Men who have a testicle that never descended are at greater risk of testicular cancer than are men whose testicles descended normally. The risk remains elevated even if the testicle has been surgically relocated to the scrotum.

Still, the majority of men who develop testicular cancer don't have a history of undescended testicles.

Abnormal testicle development. Conditions that cause testicles to develop abnormally, such as Klinefelter syndrome, may increase your risk of testicular cancer.
Family history. If family members have had testicular cancer, you may have an increased risk.
Age. Testicular cancer affects teens and younger men, particularly those between ages 15 and 35. However, it can occur at any age.
Race. Testicular cancer is more common in white men than in black men.

Prevention

Unfortunately, there's no way to prevent testicular cancer. However, some doctors will  regular testicle self-examinations to identify testicular cancer at its earliest stage. But not all doctors agree. Discuss testicular self-examination with your doctor if you're unsure about whether it's right for you.

 


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Date published: 22/09/2017
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