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Testicular Cancer

What is Testicular Cancer?

Testicular cancer is a form of cancer that affects the testicles. The testicles (also called testes) are located inside the scrotum. The scrotum is a loose bag of skin underneath the penis. The testicles produce male sex hormones and sperm cells for reproduction.

The risk for developing testicular cancer is greater in men who have an undescended testicle.

Testicular cancer is an uncommon form of cancer. It most often affects men between the ages of 15 and 35. Testicular cancer is an uncommon form of cancer.

If testicular cancer is detected and treated in its early stages, there is a high survival rate. Testicular cancer can grow and spread to other parts of the body.

Regular testicular self-examinations can help identify dangerous growths early.

Symptoms of Testicular Cancer

There are no symptoms in the early stages. When symptoms do appear, the most common ones are:

  • hard lump in either testicle (lump is the first sign, it is usually painless)
  • swelling in a testicle
  • pain or discomfort in a testicle or scrotum
  • a heavy feeling in a testicle
  • a dull ache in the abdomen or groin
  • a sudden collection of fluid in the scrotum
  • enlargement or tenderness of the breasts

What is Testicular Self-Exam?

The testicular self-exam also called a TSE, is a method for guys and men to check their testicles to make sure there aren't any unusual bumps or lumps. A testicular self-exam is important because it will help with early detection. The earlier testicular cancer is detected, the better the survival rates.

How Do I Perform A Testicular Self-Exam?

It is important to be familiar with the normal size, shape and weight of your testicles.

It is best to check yourself right after a hot shower. After a hot shower, the skin of the scrotum is relaxed and soft.

Using both hands, gently roll each testicle between your fingers.

Become familiar with the epididymis. The epididymis is a rope-like structure on the top and back of each testicle. The epididymis is not an abnormal lump.

Report any unusual swelling and lumps to your doctor.

Stages of Testicular Cancer

  • Stage I. Testicular cancer is confined to the testicle.
  • Stage II. Testicular cancer has spread to the lymph nodes in the abdomen.
  • Stage III. Testicular cancer has spread beyond the lymph nodes to other regions of your body.

Can Testicular Cancer be Treated?

Yes. If detected and treated early, testicular cancer can be cured.

Treatment options include:

  1. Surgery is required to remove the lump and nearby lymph nodes. (Lymph nodes are located in the abdomen and groin area.) Removal of the testicle does not affect fertility or the ability to have an erection because the other testicle is still intact.
  2. External beam radiation therapy. This treatment uses high-dose X-rays or other high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells.
  3. Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is used to kill cancer cells outside the testicle. This drug therapy is usually given by infusions into your veins (intravenous), typically in the hospital several days each month.

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