Testicular Cancer

Testicular cancer is a cancer that begins in one or both testicles. The testicles are the round organs inside the sac that hangs beneath the penis. The testicles are the male sex organs. They produce sperm and the male hormone called testosterone.

Causes of Testicular Cancer

Doctors do not know the exact cause of testicular cancer. But most of these cancers start in the cells that make sperm. While testicular cancer can occur at any age, it is most common between the ages of 20 and 40.

Some conditions make it slightly more likely you will get testicular cancer. These conditions are called risk factors. They include:

  • Having a family history of testicular cancer
  • Having had testicular cancer in the past, or,
  • Having an undescended testicle. This is a testicle that does not move down into the scrotum before birth

Signs and Symptoms of Testicular Cancer

The most common sign of early testicular cancer is a lump in one of the testicles. You might also notice heaviness or aching in your lower belly or scrotum.

Always let your doctor know if you notice any changes in your testicles or swelling of the scrotum.

Diagnosis of Testicular Cancer

If you have symptoms of testicular cancer your doctor will do a complete exam. This will include feeling your testicles and ordering special tests to see if the cancer may have spread to other areas of your body. You may have an ultrasound and certain blood tests.

Ultrasound is a test that uses sound waves to make an image of the testicles and other structures inside the scrotum. Blood tests may be done to look for certain types of proteins that may be in the blood if testicular cancer is present.

Treating Testicular Cancer

The vast majority of newly diagnosed testicular cancers are curable. Surgery is usually the first treatment for all testicular cancers. A common procedure is to remove the whole testicle and part of the cord attached to it. This is done through an incision made in the groin, which is the area near the crease where your legs attach to your lower belly. This procedure is called a radical inguinal orchiectomy

If cancer has spread beyond the testicle, radiation therapy may be part of your treatment. Radiation therapy uses x-ray beams to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy is another treatment that may be used if the cancer has spread. This treatment uses drugs that kill cancer cells. These drugs are usually given directly into the bloodstream.

What to Do

There is no way to prevent testicular cancer. Be aware if you feel pain or discomfort in your scrotum, testicles or in the pelvis area. If you have any discomfort in these areas, make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as possible.

What We Have Learned

Doctors know the cause of testicular cancer.
True or False
The answer is False

The most common sign of testicular cancer is a lump in one of the testicles.
True or False
The answer is True

There are no treatment options if you have been diagnosed with testicular cancer.
True or False
The answer is False