Testicular cancer occurs in the reproductive glands of the testicles. It is usually manifested by swelling or appearance of a lump in one of the testicles which is usually painless, as well as by loss of sexual activity, blood in the ejaculate and pain in the lower back or abdomen due to symptoms caused by metastases of the testicular cancer.
Men refer to the doctor due to some of the typical symptoms such as swelling or node in the testicle, which is usually painless or minimally painful, then discomfort or a feeling of “tightness” in the area of the testicles, change of the scrotal skin color over the testicles, painful ejaculation and blood in the ejaculate.
If the lump in the testicle is smaller or located inside the testicle, then it can not be palpated and will not show any symptoms.
The good news is that testicular cancer is rare. The bad news is that it most often affects young people aged 15 to 40 years.
This disease is most commonly diagnosed by an ultrasound (almost 100% accurate diagnosis), as well as by determining the HCG levels, alpha fetoprotein AFP and lactate dehydrogenase LDH in the blood. There are blood tests that we call “tumor markers for testicular cancer” - HCG, AFP and LDH in the blood. These levels may prove to be negative when the cancer is at its initial stage, which is why ultrasound is also used.
The cause of this disease is not known, but there are several indicators that suggest an increased occurrence of testicular cancer. Some of the indicators include children whose testicles fail to descend into the scrotum (Cryptorchidism) to the age of 3 years and Klinefelter's syndrome or congenital chromosomal abnormality. These people are at a greater risk of developing testicular cancer.
Every male should do a self-examination of the testicles at least once a month. If you find any irregularities, you should refer to a urologist.
The most effective treatment is the removal of the testicle affected by the tumor in order for the patient to be fully cured and the tumor recurrence to be completely removed. This procedure is performed in patients whose cancer has not spread. If the cancer has spread to the surrounding lymph nodes, their surgical removal is inevitable. The removal of one of the testicles cannot result in impotence and infertility since one testicle is sufficient for normal sexual functioning. The removal of the surrounding lymph nodes can lead to reduced ejaculation. Depending on the tumor type, patients can be subject to radiotherapy and chemotherapy to prevent the spread of the tumor and the progression of the disease.