Testicular cancer is the type of cancer that has the highest curability rate with early diagnosis. For this reason, we wish to raise awareness for testicular cancer, which is not well known among men, during the Testicular Cancer Awareness Month.
Testicular cancer constitutes 5% of all urological cancers and approximately 1.5% of all cancers. Testicular cancer, which is frequently seen between the ages of 25-40, is also known as a young age cancer and its incidence has been increasing in developed countries in the past few years.
What Is Testicular Cancer?
The main task of the testicles, which reside in a sac called the scrotum, is to produce sperm and male hormones. Testicular cancers can be defined as a group of cells that multiply uncontrollably in the existing testicular tissue much faster than normal and create a mass effect different from the normal structure of the testis.
Signs of Testicular Cancer
The most common and the main sign of testicular cancers is a palpable mass. Other symptoms include;
- Testicular pain
- Lower abdominal pain
- Acute hydrocele
- Gynecomastia and tenderness (advanced stage testicular cancers)
- Back pain, lomber pain, shortness of breath (advanced stage testicular cancers)
- Swelling of legs (advanced stage testicular cancers)
Diagnosis of Testicular Cancer
A general physical examination and testicular examination are performed if a patient has complaints of palpable testicular firmness or other symptoms of testicular cancer that are mentioned above. If there is a mass that has reached a certain size, it will be determined during the testicular examination. After the physical examination, the first thing to do is perform a testicular ultrasonography and carry out a blood work for AFP, HCG and LDH levels, which are also known as tumor markers and used in the diagnosis and the treatment of this disease. After the mass in the testis is diagnosed by these tests, further tests such as computed tomography should be planned for determining the stage of the cancer.
Treatment of Testicular Cancer
Following the diagnosis of testicular cancer, the first-line treatment is the removal of the cancerous testicular tissue by an operation called Radical Orchiectomy. During this surgery, testicular prosthesis can be placed into the scrotum in order to eliminate aesthetic concerns and psychological effects since most of the patients are of young ages. After the first-line of treatment, further tests are performed according to the pathology report of the testis and the extent of the disease is evaluated, and the treatment can be completed by using treatment options such as surveillance, chemotherapy, radiotherapy or a combination of these options.
As mentioned before, testicular cancer is a type of cancer that has a very high chance of complete cure when the cancerous testicular tissue is surgically removed at an early stage. Therefore, we recommend that every man between the ages of 20-45 carry out a self-examination of both testicles for stiffness or mass once a month. In addition, in the presence of suspicious signs or symptoms, we recommend applying to a urologist as soon as possible.