10 Things You Should Know About Testicular Cancer

By at December 25, 2010 | 11:14 am | Print

10 Things You Should Know About Testicular Cancer

10 Things You Should Know About Testicular Cancer
by J.C. Maier

1)     It is fairly rare, comprising only one percent of all male cancers.  New cases of testicular cancer in the United States number less than 8000.

2)     Caucasian men aged 15-40 are its most likely victims with a higher incidence among those with an undescended testis, abnormal testis development or a family history of testicular cancer.  It is very rare among prepubescent boys and senior men.

3)     While identifiable causes are not known, it is usually the germ cells of the testis – cells that produce immature sperm – that become abnormal and eventually malignant.

4)     It usually manifests itself as a firm, painless swelling of the testis.  A dull ache or “heavy” feeling may or may not be present in the scrotum, lower back or abdomen.

5)     Medical tests must be performed to rule out other, more common causes of testicular swelling.  These may include fluid accumulation in the scrotum or in the epididymis, varicose veins in the scrotum, or injury.

6)     Self-examination is recommended for early detection in those with a family history of cancer.  Any new or abnormal lump should be cause for further examination by medical professionals.  Evidence does suggest, however, that this practice alone does not necessarily lead to decreased incidence or lower mortality rates.

7)     Confirmation of testicular cancer can be made only by surgical removal of the tissue in question, usually the entire testis, and examination under a microscope.  The outcome of this examination determines if further treatment with radiation or drugs is necessary.

8)     Prognosis is the best for any solid tumor.  The recovery rate for early detection is extremely good, above 95 percent, while that for advanced cases is generally 80 – 85 percent.

9)     Following treatment, fertility in the remaining testis is normally not affected, although sperm counts will be lowered by the removal of one testis.  Sperm banking prior to treatment is an option for those wanting to ensure future child rearing.

10)  As with any cancer, follow up examinations are essential to continued health.  Blood tests, CAT scans and x-rays are used to monitor possible recurrences.

The American Medical Association Home Medical Encyclopedia © 1989

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