The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 9,000 new cases of testicular cancer in the United States. Although it is a relatively rare cancer, the incidence rate of testicular cancer has been increasing in the US and many other countries for several decades. The increase is mostly in seminomas. Experts have not been able to find reasons for this. The average age at the time of diagnosis of testicular cancer is about 33. This is largely a disease of young and middle-aged men, but about 6% of cases occur in children and teens, and about 8% occur in men over the age of 55.
Compared with other types of cancer, testicular cancer is rare. But testicular cancer is the most common cancer in American males between the ages of 15 and 35. Testicular cancer is highly treatable, even when cancer has spread beyond the testicle. Depending on the type and stage of testicular cancer, you may receive one of several treatments, or a combination.
Treatment of testicular cancer may depend on the kind of cells involved. There are many types of cells found in the testicles, all of which can become cancerous. However, there are two main types of tumors that account for the majority of testicular cancers
Testicular cancer may involve one or both kinds of tumors.
Signs and symptoms of testicular cancer include:
Cancer usually affects only one testicle. See your doctor if you detect any pain, swelling or lumps in your testicles or groin area, especially if these signs and symptoms last longer than two weeks.
In some cases men discover testicular cancer themselves, either unintentionally or while doing a testicular self-examination to check for lumps. In other cases, your doctor may detect a lump during a routine physical exam. To determine whether a lump is testicular cancer, your doctor may recommend:
Once your doctor confirms your diagnosis, the next step is to determine the extent (stage) of the cancer. To determine whether cancer has spread outside of your testicle, you may undergo:
The stages of testicular cancer are indicated by Roman numerals that range from 0 to III, with the lowest stages indicating cancer that is limited to the area around the testicle. By stage III, the cancer is considered advanced and may have spread to other areas of the body, such as the lungs.
The options for treating your testicular cancer depend on several factors, including the type and stage of cancer, your overall health, and your own preferences.
Surgery: Operations used to treat testicular cancer include:
Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy uses high-powered energy beams, such as X-rays, to kill cancer cells. During radiation therapy, you’re positioned on a table and a large machine moves around you, aiming the energy beams at precise points on your body. Radiation therapy is a treatment option that’s sometimes used in people who have the seminoma type of testicular cancer. Radiation therapy may be recommended after surgery to remove your testicle.
Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy treatment uses drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy drugs travel throughout your body to kill cancer cells that may have migrated from the original tumor. Chemotherapy may be your only treatment, or it may be recommended before or after lymph node removal surgery.
San Cristobal Cancer Institute offers a wide array of options to help our patients feel calm and supported during the process of screening, diagnosis and treatment, as well as getting back to life after cancer. Browse our alternatives for patients – including financial aid for those eligible – in our Patient Resources section.
If you’d like to learn more about Testicular Cancer through our San Cristóbal Education Resources, attend our events or learn about our Cancer Center, please contact us.
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