Testicular Cancer 1. Introduction The testicles are male sex glands. They are located behind the penis in a pouch of skin called the scrotum. The testicles produce and store sperm, and they are also the bodys main source of male hormones. These hormones control the development of the reproductive organs and other male characteristics, such as body and facial hair, low voice, and wide shoulders.
Cancer is a group of more than 100 diseases. Although each kind differs from the other in many ways, every type of cancer is a disease of some body s cells. Testicular cancer is a disease in which cells become malignant (cancerous) in one or both testicles. Testicular cancer is one of the most common cancers in young men between the ages of 15 and 35, but the disease also occurs in other age groups, so all men should be aware of its symptoms. While testicles cancer is common among young men, young men typically do not get a lot of cancer, so overall testicular cancer is a relatively rare disease. In the year 2000, an estimated 7600 cases of testicular cancer are diagnosed in the United States, and a little less than 400 of them died.
Caucasians are more likely to get it than Blacks or Asians. Disturbingly, the incidence of testicular cancer around the world has basically doubled in the past 30 to 40 years. Testicular cancer can be broadly classified into two types: seminoma and nonseminoma. Senomas make up of 30 percent of all testicular cancers. Nonsminoma are a group cancers that include choriocarcinoma, embryonic carcinoma, teratoma, and yolk sac tumors. A testicular cancer may have a combination of both types. 2.
Causes So far, research has not shown a connection between testicular cancer and any particular habits, activities, or lifestyle, there is evidence that the risk of testicular cancer is higher in whose testicles did not descend normally- that is, move down from lower abdomen into the scrotum, for this reason, surgery is often performed to correct this problem before the testicle has been left undecided for very long. It has even said that the risk o testicular cancer may by higher in men infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, but evidence for this is weak. Although the exact causes are not known, there several predisposing factors may place some men higher risk, these include past medical history of undescended testicle, mumps orchitis, ingunal hernia during childhood, or previous testicular cancer on other side. Frequently, testicular tumors are noted after an episode of trauma however, trauma is not believed to be a causative or predisposing factor. Testicular cancer is not contagious, no one can catch it form another person. Exactly what cause this disease is unknown and seldom can it be explained why one person gets it while another doesnt.
Research does show that some men are more likely than other to develop cancer. For example, the risk is higher than average for boys born with their testicles in the lower abdomen rather than in the scotrum. The cancer risk for boys with these conditions is increased regardless of whether the condition is corrected, and in fact, the risk exists even in the normal testicle. The theory is that the increased risk of testicular cancer is due to whatever caused the undescended testicles, not just by the fact that the testicles was undescended. Some men whose mother took a hormone called DES (diethylstilbestrol) during pregnancy to prevent miscarriage have testicular abnormalities.
But scientists have never proven that prenatal exposure to DES (or any other female hormone) increases the risk of testicular cancer. Some patients with testicular cancer have a history of injury to the scrotum. But again, no one whether such an injury can cause cancer. Many doctors think such an injury simply calls attention to a tumor that was already growing. 3. Symptoms Testicular cancer can cause a number of symptoms. Listed below are warning signs that males should watch for: 1.A lump in either testicle 2.Any enlargement of a testicle; 3.A significant shrinking of a testicle; 4.A change in the consistency of a testicle (hardness); 5.A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum; 6.A dull ache in the lower abdomen or in the groin; 7.A sudden collection of fluid in the scrotum; 8.Pain or discomfort in a testicle or in the scrotum; 9.Enlargement or tenderness of the breast.
Other symptoms of testicular cancer may include: 1.Testicular pain. 2.Urinary problems. 3.An abdominal mass or abdominal pain. 4.Loss of weight or appetite,fatigue,lower-back pain; 5. tenderness in the nipples or breast enlargement.
6.Very rarely, infertility These symptoms are not sure signs of cancer. They can also by caused by other Conditions. There are numerous other causes of swelling of the testis that are harmless, including hydrocele, epididymitis, and varicocele. Inflammation of the testis can be related to bacterial infections. However any illness should be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. Early diagnosis of testicular cancer is important because the sooner cancer is found and treated, the better a mans chance for complete recovery. 4. Diagnosis When a man symptoms suggest that there might be cancer in a testicle, the doctor will as about his personal and family history and do a complete physical exam.
In addition to checking for general signs of health (temperature, pulse, blood pressure, and so on), the doctor will carefully examine the scrotum. Also, the patient will usually have a chest x-ray and blood and urine tests. If the physical exam and lab tests do not show an infection or another disorder, the doctor is likely to suspect cancer because most tumors in the testicles are cancer. The only sure way to know whether cancer is present is for a pathologist to examine a sample of tissue und a microscope. To obtain the tissue, the affected testicle is removed through the groin.
This operation is called inguinal orchiectomy. The surgeon does not cut through the scrotum and does nor remove just a part of the testicle because, if the problem is caner, cutting through the outer layer of the testicle might cause local spread of the disease. 5. Prevention Immunization against the mumps should be done at 15 months and again between 4 to 6 years old. This prevents the potential of developing mumps orchitis (inflammation of the testicles), which is believed to be a predisposing factor for testicular cancer. Young men should be taught to perform testicular self-examination (TSE) shortly after puberty, and the procedure should be re-emphasized upon all routine health examinations of young men (such as sports, school, or camp physicals).
A TSE, performed on a monthly basis, may play a major role in detecting tumors at earlier stages, prior to metastasis. 6. Treatment Testicular cancer is almost always curable if it is found early. This disease responds well to treatment, even if it has spread to other parts of the body. Testicular cancer can be treated with surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
The doctor may use one method or combination. Today, a large majority of testicular cancer patients are cured by their initial treatment, and many of those who have a recurrence can be cured too. Surgery: Treatment for testicular cancer almost always involves orchiectomy, the surgical removal of the affected testicle. This is done, in part, because the testes do not readily take in anticancer drugs. Because of the risk of spreading the cancer through contact with the loose skin of the scrotum, the surgery is usually done through an opening made in the groin where the thigh meets the torso. Since only two percent of men with testicular cancer will experience a new tumor in the other testicle, the remaining testicle is usually left intact.
Radiation therapy: radiation therapy is also called radiotherapy, uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation therapy is a local therapy it affects cancer cells only in the treated areas. Seminomas are highly sensitive to radiation. Nonseminomas are somewhat less sensitive to radiation. Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy has greatly enhanced the survival rate of non-seminomatous testicular tumors. Chemotherapy is the use of anticancer drugs to kill cancer cells through the body. Chemotherapy is given to destroy cancerous cells that may remain in the body after surgery. 7.
Future of Testicular Cancer Testicular Cancer is on the increase and no one knows why. Perhaps it is the chemicals used by man, perhaps evolution. Whatever it is, this disease is becoming a real issue for men across the world, yet men generally are totally ignorant that this disease even exists. Cancer of the genitalia does exist in the form of Testicular Cancer and Penile Cancer. It is true to say that both are unusual, but Testicular Cancer happens to be the most common cancer in men between the ages of 15 and 35.
The fact is men should examine themselves as frequently as women check their breasts. Most men who suffer this problem return to normal life, thanks to early intervention and a positive will. Delay is potentially extremely costly and could result in the ultimate price being paid. Human Sexuality.