Testicular cancer occurs when an abnormal overgrowth of cells forms in one
or both testicles. This is the most common cancer in American men ages 15
to 35. Approximately 7,500 new cases are diagnosed each year. It's almost
always curable if found early.
Testicular cancer is classified as either:
1. Seminoma - accounts for approximately 50 percent of the cases. It's
highly sensitive to radiation therapy and usually slow-growing.
2. Nonseminoma - a group of cancers more likely to spread to the lymph nodes.
Men who have a testicle that never descended are at greater risk, even if
they've had surgery to correct it. Other risk factors: previous testicular
cancer; family history of the disease; HIV and AIDS; and certain
occupations (miners, oil and gas workers, leather workers, food and
beverage processors, janitors and utility workers). It is more common among
Common symptoms include a pealike lump, swelling of either testicle, a
feeling of heaviness in the scrotum, dull ache in the groin or abdomen,
sudden collection of fluid in the scrotum, pain or discomfort, and
enlargement or tenderness of the breasts.
Most testicular cancers are highly treatable, even in later stages. There
are four standard treatment options, which may be combined with one another
depending on the stage of the cancer and the patient's health:
1. Radical inguinal orchiectomy - surgical removal of one or both
testicles, and possibly lymph nodes, through a cut in the groin.
2. Radiation therapy
4. Bone marrow transplant - a newer type of treatment for testicular cancer in which a patient's bone marrow is removed, treated and then reinjected.
Most of the known risk factors are not preventable, so medical experts say
it's virtually impossible to prevent testicular cancer. However, they
emphasize performing a monthly testicular self exam after showering as the
best way to detect problems early.
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