Testicular cancer in men is characterized by the growth of cancerous cell in the testes (or) testicles present inside the scrotum. The testicles are responsible for the production of sperm and the male sex hormones.
Testicular cancer although rare, can be easily treated with timely diagnosis and follow up treatment. The condition can be treated even if the cancerous growth spreads to other areas around the testicles.
Common Causes and Risk Factors Involved
The specific cause for testicular cancer in men remains elusive. The condition is said to occur when certain healthy cells present in the testicles become abnormal and start growing uncontrollably to form a mass that starts to spread throughout the testes and the surrounding regions.
Testicular cancer is usually associated with a few risk factors that increase the chances of an individual contracting the issue. These include genetic traits, age (between 15 and 34 years), cryptorchidism (undescended testicles) and anomalous testicle development etc.
Common Symptoms of Testicular Cancer
The symptoms of testicular cancer are sometimes mistaken for other minor ailments. Individuals should choose to visit a doctor if they experience the following symptoms continuously for more than 2 weeks or so.
Some of the more common symptoms of testicular cancer include the presence of a lump or mass in either one or both testicles (usually in one testicle), slight abdominal pain that extends till the groin, heaviness, discomfort or pain in the scrotum/testicle, breast tenderness or enlargement and fluid collection inside the scrotum etc.
Treatment Options for Testicular Cancer
The specific treatment option chosen for testicular cancer would depend on factors like the age of the concerned individual, the type of cancer and stage, existing medical conditions, overall health condition of the concerned individual and personal preferences etc. Accordingly, some of the more common treatment options for testicular cancer include:
Watchful Waiting Period
Watchful Waiting Period involves sitting out the condition. This is usually recommended in cases where the cancer is not fully developed or looks benign. Regular checkups like CT scans and blood tests are done to monitor the growth and treatment is initiated only if the growth turns cancerous or starts to grow.
Surgical Options include Radical Inguinal Orchiectomy which involves removing the testicles completely and replacing them with saline-filled prosthetics (if the patient insists), and Retroperitoneal Lymph Node Dissection which involves removing the lymph nodes (and severing the nerves attached to them) in the groin along with the testicles to prevent the spread of the cancerous cells.
Surgery for testicular cancer can in certain cases causes side effects like pain, infection, bleeding and ejaculation issues.
Chemotherapy involves employing certain drugs to eradicate the cancerous cells. The drugs target the cells that might have spread to other areas of the body as well. The procedure is usually initiated after surgery and before/after the removal of the lymph nodes. Some of the more common side effects caused by chemotherapy in individuals include hair loss, severe nausea, fatigue, infections and infertility etc.
Radiation therapy involves using high energy beams to eradicate the cancer cells. The beam is administered by a machine which moves up and down the body, targeting certain areas as decided by the doctor. Radiation therapy is usually recommended for both seminoma and nonseminoma types of testicular cancer.
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