Testicular cancer is the most common type of cancer in young men aged 15 to 35 and is among one of the most curable types due to early detection and advanced treatment options. It originates in the two glands that produce testosterone and sperm and present with a higher incidence rates among men with un-descended testicles or a genetic predisposition.
While the exact cause of testicular cancer remains unknown, certain conditions may increase your chance of contracting this type of cancer and may include:
- Un-descended Testicle: normally, an infant testicle descends into the scrotum by three months old; however testicles occasionally remain in the lower abdomen; causing the testicle to remain in an elevated position.
- Klinefelter syndrome: a genetic problem that affects males on a chromosomal level. Normally, males have one of each chromosome; X and Y. Males who suffer from Klinefelter syndrome possess at least two X chromosomes and, in some very rare cases as many as four.
- Heredity: family members who have had testicular cancer may hand down the carrier gene for this type of disease.
Recent studies have shown that many men who contract testicular cancer may not have any of these risk factors.
In addition to symptoms such as swelling and hardening of the testicle as well as experiencing a change in the shape or size, many common symptoms of testicular cancer include:
- Pain: many patients report pain at different levels and some may not experience pain at all.
- Heaviness: a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum can often accompany the presence of testicular cancer.
- Pressure: dull pressure or throbbing pain in the lower back, belly, or groin can all point to the presence of a cancerous growth.
The first steps to effective treatment and prevent spread of the cancer is removal of the malignancy through a surgical procedure. Removing the testicle allows the physician to diagnose the specific type of cancer cells present helps in formulating a treatment plan.
Once the cancer has been identified, removed, and analyzed there are a range of treatment options available to ensure that the cancer is gone or additional steps to take if the cancer returns.
- Surveillance: a “wait and see” type of protocol; this simply involves regular check-ups to monitor the patient’s health.
- Chemotherapy: involves powerful pharmaceuticals that destroy any latent cancer cells that present after surgery.
- Radiation therapy: high doses of X-rays bombard the cancer cells.
Unlike many other kinds of cancer, testicular cancer is generally less aggressive and responds well to treatments and surgery. However, like many other types of cancer, early detection is a primary tool to effective treatment.