About Testicular Cancer
Testicular cancer has become the most common solid tumor diagnosed in males between fifteen and thirty-five years of age. The American Cancer Society has estimated that there will be roughly 8,000 new cases of testicular cancer, which is also known as cancer of the testes, diagnosed here in the United States next year. Though a diagnosis of testicular cancer was grim news only fifteen years ago, when ten times as many patients died from the disease as do today. Today, testicular cancer should be a curable disease if treated appropriately.
These days, remarkable advances in therapeutic drugs, improved diagnostic methods, increasingly accurate tests that gauge the spread and character of the disease, as well a slate of groundbreaking minimally invasive laparoscopic surgical techniques have boosted survival rates. Now, testicular cancer is often completely curable, especially when found and treated early. In fact, the survival rate for testicular cancer is now higher than ninety-percent.
But, one thing you need to bear in mind is the fact that denial and embarrassment about the testes have also made testicular cancer's early symptoms some of the least reported.
Testicular Cancer is Now Highly Treatable if it is Diagnosed Early
The causes of testicular cancer are unknown, but the disease develops in the testicles (or testes) located inside the scrotum, the loose bag of skin situated underneath the penis. They produce sperm cells for reproduction and male sex hormones. More than ninety-percent of testicular cancers grow from germ cells, which are classified as either seminomas or non-seminomas. Seminomas cancer cells are slow growing and typically confined to a single area of the testicles. Non-seminomas cancer cells are more cancerous however and rapidly spread (metastasize) into other areas of the body. If both types of are present, the cancer is categorized as non-seminomas.
Over the course of the last few years, researchers have discovered a great deal about the variances or changes in chromosomes or DNA that may contribute to factors that cause normal testicular germ cells to develop as malignant germ cells. In fact, in many case, there are indeed genetic factors that appear to precipitate the development of testicular cancer. For example, Caucasians are diagnosed with cancer of the testes more often than African Americas or Asians, and men with a history of congenital testicular defects, un-descended testes (cryptorchid) are at a greater risk of developing the disease. Other predisposing factors can include a history of mumps as well as certain hernias that developed in childhood. In most cases however, no single predisposing relationship can be established.
Testicular Cancer Symptoms
The most notable symptom of testicular cancer is a relatively painless enlargement of the testicles. In majority of such cases a testicular mass or enlargement is found. A general sensation of heaviness about the testicles is also a common warning sign. Other signs and symptoms can include: abdominal pain or groin pain, blood in seamen during ejaculation and or fluid build-up in the scrotum. Testicular cancer can also cause other of signs and symptoms including:
- Pain or discomfort around a testicle or in the scrotum.
- Any lump on or enlargement of either testicle.
- A feeling of heaviness about the scrotum.
- Dull aches in the abdomen or groin.
- The sudden collection of fluid in the scrotum.
- Enlargement or tenderness in or around the pectoral area.
- Unexplained bouts of fatigue or any unexplained general feeling of nausea or illness.
The majority of testicular cancer cases are diagnosed only after one or more of the above symptoms has been detected by a vigilant patient.
Therefore, regular physical examinations are crucial for early detection and successful treatment outcomes. Once testicular cancer has been detected, further tests will be required in order to confirm the initial diagnosis, staging and type cancer, as well as whether or not it has metastasized. These tests include: CT scans, blood and laboratory tests, X-rays and an appraisal of biologic markers.
Testicular Cancer Has One of the Best Recovery Rates of Cancers Treated in Men
Generally, testicular cancers are diagnosed and categorized in three developmental stages. Of course, Stage 1 of the disease is by far the most common and easily treatable:
- Stage 1: Localized cancer cell development in the testicles.
- Stage 2: The cancer has metastasized into the nearest abdominal lymph nodes.
- Stage 3: The cancer cells have metastasized into distant organs, into the lungs, the kidneys or the brain, for example.
Laparoscopic Surgical Treatment
The laparoscopic surgical treatment for testicular cancer involves the full removal of the testicle (or testicles) that contain the cancer. Tiny keyhole incisions will and the cancer stricken testicle (or testicles) will be withdrawn from the scrotum through that opening. A cut is then made through the spermatic cord attaching the testicle to the abdomen. The procedure is known as a radical inguinal orchiectomy. The surgeon will always take special care so as to avoid spreading cancer cells into surgical wounds or scattering them from the tumor in the bloodstream.
Depending on the type and stage of your cancer, specific lymph nodes behind your abdomen may also have to be removed at the same time or during a subsequent operation.
Typically sexual function as it relates to potency returns to normal after the operation. The only issue that's been shown to occur is infrequent retrograde ejaculation.
If you'd like additional information about testicular cancer, its diagnosis and care or any advice you may need concerning complementary treatment methods, please don't hesitate to contact Dr. Scherr.