Testicular cancer occurs in the testicles, which produce male sex hormones and sperm for reproduction. It’s one of the rarer cancers in general, but testicular cancer is the most common cancer among American males between 15 and 35. It is also more common in white men than in other races.
The cancer is highly treatable, even after it’s spread to other parts of the body. It usually only affects one testicle.
Signs and symptoms of testicular cancer include:
- A lump or enlargement in either testicle
- A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
- A dull ache in the abdomen or groin
- A sudden collection of fluid in the scrotum
- Pain or discomfort in a testicle or the scrotum
- Enlargement or tenderness of the breasts
- Back pain
Causes and Risk Factors
In most cases of testicular cancer, the cause is unknown, but what is known is that the cancer develops when healthy germ cells (the cells that produce immature sperm) become altered. The altered cells form a mass in the testicle.
Factors that may increase your risk of testicular cancer include:
- An undescended testicle
- Abnormal testicle development
- Family history of testicular cancer
Diagnosis and Treatment
Many times, a man will discover a lump in his testicle on his own. Just as women should perform breast self-examinations, men should perform regular testicle self-examinations. In other cases, a doctor will discover a lump during a routine exam.
Once the lump is discovered, your doctor may recommend an ultrasound and/or blood tests for tumor markers. If it’s found that the lump is cancerous, treatment depends upon the stage of cancer and your overall health.
Treatment options may include any combination of:
- Surgery to remove the affected testicle (this is the primary treatment for most types and stages of testicular cancer)
- Surgery to remove nearby lymph nodes
- Radiation therapy
If you have symptoms of testicular cancer or have already been diagnosed, the Urology specialists and oncologists at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic in Houston have the expertise and compassion to treat the cancer and support you every step of the way.