Information on Testicular Cancer:
The types of testicular cancer
Testicular cancer comes in two different forms. Seminomas are more common in the 25 to 55 year old age group whilst teratomas are more commonly found in the 15 to 35 year old age group. Sometimes a patient may have both types of cancer present in the same location.
With this type of cancer also affecting young men, it highlights the need for regular self-examination to give yourself the best chance of detecting the condition early. Testicular cancer has a very high success rate in terms of treatment, but that relies upon early detection. For this reason, we have included a testicular self-examination section that you should follow at least once per month. Visit the early detection and testicular self-examination sections.
The causes of testicular cancer
Scientists know very little about the cause of testicular cancer. However, they have established that here is no evidence to suggest that strain or injury increases your testicular cancer risk (although a lump from an injury could mask a potential tumour), and that having had an undescended testicle during infancy does increase your risk.
The symptoms of testicular cancer
Look out for:
- Any change in size or weight of your testicles.
- A swelling in one part of a testicle – which can be painless.
- A dull ache in the scrotum, groin, lower abdomen or lower back.
- A sore, or a small patch on the shaft or tip of your penis that irritates and won’t heal.
Sometimes a patient’s testicle can suddenly become enlarged and very tender to touch. On occasion, particularly with small tumours, the physical symptoms can begin elsewhere in the body because the cancer has spread. These symptoms can include (but are not limited to) stomach ache, back ache, or a persistent cough. A more extensive list of potential cancer symptoms can be found in the cancer overview section.
Although these symptoms can be a result of other less serious medical conditions, you should consult your doctor as soon as possible if you are experiencing any of them – particularly in the case of a lump.
Methods of diagnosis
Diagnosis of testicular cancer is often begun with a physical examination and the taking of your medical history.
Ultrasound can also be a valuable tool in helping to differentiate between cancer and swellings (or lumps) due to other conditions. However, the only accurate way to definitively diagnose cancer (determining the exact type and best course of treatment) is to examine the testicle in question under the microscope under general anaesthetic. This is because unlike other cancers, biopsies are not recommended because they can help to spread the disease.