Testicular Cancer Symptoms and Treatment
Testicular cancer develops in a testicle, the male sex glands that are part of the male reproductive system. It is one of the most curable forms of cancer, and most cases of testicular cancer can be found at an early stage.
There are two types of testicular cancer, and each type requires different treatment options. Seminoma tumors can occur in all age groups but are most common in older men. It is typically the less aggressive form of testicular cancer. Nonseminoma tumors develop in men of a young age and spread quickly. Several types of this tumor exist, such as choriocarcinoma, embryonal carcinoma, teratoma and yolk sac tumor.
Signs and Symptoms of Testicular Cancer
Keep in mind that many symptoms of testicular cancer are often caused by something else. See your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Lump or swelling in the testicle
- Heaviness or aching in the lower abdomen or scrotum
- Early puberty in boys
Self-exams are an important preliminary method to screen for any symptoms or abnormalities in the testicles. Doctors recommend conducting the self-examination during or after the shower or bath. Look and feel for any hard lumps or nodules (smooth rounded masses) or any change in the size, shape, or consistency of your testicles.
Doctors can use imaging tests and other methods to screen for testicular cancer as well.
- Ultrasound: this test will use sound waves to determine any lumps, whether they are inside or outside the testicles.
- Blood tests: your doctor may order blood tests to determine the level of tumor markers in your blood.
- CT scan: your doctor may take CT scans of your abdomen, chest and pelvis to look for signs of spreading.
Treatments for Testicular Cancer
Treatment options for testicular cancer depend on a few factors of the disease, including stage, type and overall health. Options include:
- Surgery: The primary treatment option for nearly all stages is to remove the testicle. Your doctor may also advise to surgically remove nearby lymph nodes by making a small incision in your abdomen.
- Radiation therapy: this option is typically used in people who have the seminoma type of testicular cancer. It may be recommended after surgery as well.
- Chemotherapy: this method uses drugs to kill the cancer cells in your system. This may be recommended as your only treatment or as an additional treatment to lymph node surgery. Side effects may include infertility, either temporarily or permanently.