TESTICULAR CANCER

The testes are two small oval shaped organs on either side of the penis that produce and store sperms. They produce testosterone which is responsible for male sexual characters.

Testicular cancer develops from cells within the testes.

Testicular cancer mainly affects young men in 20-44 years age group where it is most common cancer. Overall testicular cancer is not very common. Testicular cancer responds particularly well to treatment and over 9 in 10 patients are cured.

RISK FACTORS FOR TESTICULAR CANCER

  1. Age: Usually young and middle aged men,
  2. Undesceded testes (cryptoorchidism),
  3. Family history,
  4. Previous testicular cancer,


SCREENING FOR TESTICULAR CANCER

There is no active screening programme for testicular cancer but self examination is effective. Boys should start to check their testes from age of 14 years onwards.

Testicular self-examination

The best way to check for testicular cancer is to examine yourself once a month. A good time to do this is after a warm bath or shower, when the scrotal skin is relaxed.

Remember the point is not to find something wrong, it is to learn what everything feels like so that you will know if something changes.

Hold your scrotum in the palms of your hands, so that you can use the fingers and thumb on both hands to examine your testicles.

Note the size and weight of the testicles. It is common to have one testicle slightly larger,or which hangs lower than the other, but any noticeable increase in size or weight many mean something is wrong.

Gently feel each testicle individually. You should feel a soft tube at the top and back of the testicle. This is the epididymis which carries and stores sperm. It may feel slightly tender. Don't confuse it with an abnormal lump.

You should be able to feel the firm, smooth tube of the spermatic cord which runs up from the epididymis.

Feel the testicle itself. It should be smooth. It is unusual to develop cancer in both testicles at the same time, so if you are wondering whether a testicle is feeling normal or not you can compare it with the other.

  • When in doubt, get it checked out - if only for peace of mind!

Embarrassment is a poor excuse for not having any problem examined by a doctor.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF TESTICULAR CANCER

  1. Painless lump or swelling in either testicles,
  2. Enlargement of testicles.
  3. Feeling of heaviness in the scrotum,
  4. Dull ache in scrotum or groin,
  5. Pain or discharge in the testicles or scrotum,

Sometimes other symptoms may be present such as backaches, stomach aches, breathlessness, persistent dry cough or tender nipples.

DETECTION OF TESTICULAR CANCER

  1. Physical examination,
  2. Blood tests,
  3. Ultrasound scan,
  4. Surgery.


TREATMENT OF TESTICULAR CANCER

  1. Surgery: Orchidectomy- as long as as one testis is removed surgery does affect fertility.
  2. Radiotherapy,
  3. Chemotherapy.

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