Testicular Cancer causes the normal cells in one or both testicles to change into abnormal cells and grow out of control. The first few symptoms of testicular cancer are:
- Presence of a lump or swelling in the scrotum
- Dull ache or a heavy feeling in the lower belly or around the anus or scrotum
- Severe pain in the testicles.
Dr. Alok Gupta says, the above symptoms can be caused by conditions that are not similar to cancer, but the presence of any lump should make you rush to the doctor immediately.
This cancer occurs most commonly in boys or men who are between 15-35 years.
Is there a test for testicular cancer?
Yes. If your doctor or nurse suspects you have testicular cancer, he or she might ask you to undergo a testicular ultrasound. This is an imaging test that creates pictures of the inside of the testicles and can show abnormal growth. In men suspected of testicular cancer, a mass or lump seen on ultrasound can be a sign of testicular cancer.
The only way to know for sure if you have testicular cancer is when the doctor removes the abnormal testicle and sends it to a lab for investigations.
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What is cancer staging?
For men with testicular cancer, cancer staging is a way in which doctors find out if cancer has spread beyond the testicles to other parts of the body. Staging usually involves blood tests, CT scans, or other imaging tests.
How is testicular cancer treated?
Removing the testicle is the first part of treatment. Further treatment depends on 3 things:
- The type of cancer
- Whether or not there is a risk or there is a possibility to reoccur
- Whether cancer has spread outside the testis
In general, the treatment options for testicular cancer could include any of the following:
- Radiation therapy
- Surgery – Testicular cancer is sometimes treated with surgery in order to remove nearby lymph nodes. This surgery can help prevent the spread of testicular cancer in the body. A doctor might also do surgery to remove a mass in another part of the body if the cancer has spread. Surgery to remove a testicle is called an "orchiectomy."
- A rigorous follow-up schedule (also called active surveillance) – For men with early testicular cancer, treatment beyond removal of the testicle is not always needed. For these men, doctors sometimes recommend simply monitoring the body for changes that could indicate the return of cancer.
What if I want to father a child one day?
If you want to father a child one day, talk to your doctor. Treatments for testicular cancer can reduce or stop sperm production. Some men choose to store their sperm before treatment so they can use it in the future to have a child.
What happens after treatment?
After treatment, you will be checked very often to see if there are chances of cancer to come back. Follow-up tests usually include exams, blood tests, and imaging tests such as X-rays and CT scans.
What happens if cancer comes back or spreads?
If cancer comes back or spreads, you might have more chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or surgery.