When you heard the word cancer as a disease… the first question that comes to your mind is what type of cancer? Or in which part of the body? With the increasing number of cancer patients in the world, different types of cancers are also being reported day by day.
One of the rare types of cancer in men is testicular cancer. But the good news is that in most cases it is curable if diagnosed at early stages.
Testicles are part of the male reproductive system. They are present in a sac-like structure known as the scrotum. They have two major functions i-e they make male hormones (androgens) such as testosterone and they make sperm, the male cells needed to fertilize the female egg.
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Testicular cancer is a condition that occurs when cancerous (malignant) cells develop in the tissues of a testicle. The development of cancerous cells in both testicles can occur but in rare cases. Testicular cancer is the most common cancer among men aged 20 to 35. The disease usually is curable.
What are the risk factors of testicular cancer?
Undescended testicle(s): This is when one or both testicles do not descend into the scrotum before birth.
Abnormal testicles: Having had abnormal development of the testicles.
Race: White men are more likely to develop this cancer than men of other races and ethnicity.
Family history: Men with blood relatives who had testicular cancer have an increased risk of developing the condition themselves. Men who have had cancer themselves in one testicle are at increased risk of developing a second cancer in the other testicle.
Infertility: Infertility in men also increase the chances of developing testicular cancer.
What are the signs and symptoms of testicular cancer?
Patients feel heaviness and dull pain in the groin and lower abdomen. A lump in or on the testicle is the most common symptom. Enlargement of the testicle or scrotum can also be seen or sometimes shrinking of the testicle.
How to diagnose this cancer?
Testicular cancer is diagnosed by the patient’s history and physical examination, ultrasound, and blood tests that check for testicular tumor markers. Biopsy of testicular tissue may also be done. Chest X-rays, CT, MRI, and PET scans, in addition to its serum tumor markers and abdominal lymph node dissection, may help determine the stage of testicular cancer.
What is the treatment for testicular cancer?
- This cancer can be cured by surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation therapy.
- Infertility can be caused as a side effect of these treatments.
- But recurrent testicular cancer also occurs that comes back after treatment.
Type of testicular cancer:
The testicles are made up of different types of cells. Cancer developed in each type of cell is different from another. So it is important to know the type of cells in which cancer is present because only then you can understand the type of cancer. Moreover, the treatment plan can be made according to the type of cancer.
Germ cells tumors
Most of the cancers of the testicle start in cells known as germ cells. These are the cells that make sperm. The main types of germ cell tumors (GCTs) in the testicles are seminomas and non-seminomas. Seminomas tend to grow and spread more slowly than non-seminomas.
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Yolk sac tumor
- These tumors are so named because their cells look like the yolk sac of an early human embryo.
- Embryonal carcinoma: These cells are found in about 40% of testicular tumors. When seen under a microscope, these tumors can look like tissues of very early embryos. This type of non-seminoma spread rapidly and outside the testicle.
Tumors can also start in the supportive and hormone-producing tissues, or stroma, of the testicles and known as gonadal stromal tumors.
Secondary testicular cancers
Cancers that are produced in another organ and then spread to the testicle are called secondary testicular cancers. Lymphoma is the most common secondary testicular cancer. In some cases of acute leukemia, the leukemia cells can sometimes form a tumor in the testicle.
These are some of the major chunks of knowledge that you should know about this rare type of cancer. The health specialists that usually deals with this type of condition are oncologists and sexologists. You can consult the best sexologist in Karachi through Marham.
It is always better to look after your health and taking even the mild symptoms seriously. So if you feel any abnormal or unusual signs, you should consult your doctor immediately!