Testicular Cancer

Testicles or testes are male reproductive organs that are held within a sac of skin called the scrotum. Testicles have two main functions which are to make male hormone testosterone and to make sperms. Cancer that starts in testicles is called testicular cancer.

Causes of Testicular Cancer

  • Genetic syndromes like Klinefelter’s syndrome
  • Cryptorchidism or undescended testicles
  • Family history
  • HIV infection

Symptoms of Testicular Cancer

  • Lump or enlargement in the testicles
  • An ache in the abdomen or groin region
  • Pain or discomfort in the testicles
  • Back pain
  • Feeling of numbness
  • Swelling in one or both legs

Prevention of Testicular Cancer

There is no known way to prevent testicular cancer but it is essential to do a monthly testicular self-exam. One should look for lumps during the self-exam which can be pea-sized or larger and are often painless.

Diagnosis of Testicular Cancer

  • Ultrasound – In this, sound waves are used to create an image of the scrotum and testicles. It can help the doctor determine the nature of lumps and see whether they are solid or fluid-filled. It also helps them identify if the lumps are inside or outside the testicle
  • Blood tests – The help the doctor determine the levels of tumor markers in the blood. These might occur normally in the blood but if the levels are abnormally high, it might indicate testicular cancer
  • CT scan – In this, a series of X-Rays of your abdomen, chest, and pelvis are taken to looks for signs of metastasizes of cancer

Treatment of Testicular Cancer

  • Surgery – Surgery is one of the main treatments for testicular cancer. Usually, the entire testes are removed along with the spermatic cord whereas sometimes one testicle is removed. In some cases where cancer has not spread across the body, just the tumor is removed using surgical methods
  • Radiation – It is the use of high-energy beams that kill the cancerous cells on the testes or nearby lymph nodes. It is usually recommended if testicular cancer has spread to other parts of the body
  • Chemotherapy – It is the preferred form of treatment if cancer has spread beyond the testes. This treatment uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells. It does this either by killing the cancer cells or by preventing their further division