Testicular cancer usually starts in that testicles and hardly ever spreads from another area. There are two testicles or testes, they are the glands that produce men’s hormones and sperm. They hang behind a man’s penis in the scrotum and even though testicular cancer is rare it is one of the most common types of cancer in men between the ages of 15 and 35. Testicular cancer can spread slowly or rapidly, however it spreads very easily throughout the body to the liver, lungs, bones and even the brain. Fortunately, this type of cancer is usually treatable and highly curable and is not fatal. The earliest warning signs of testicular cancer include:
Change in their shape or size
A firm, smooth, painless, slow-growing lump in a testicle
Swelling or thickening of the testicles
Feeling of testicular heaviness
Other symptoms include:
Abdominal mass or pain
Shortness of breath
Loss of appetite and weight
Persistent coughing, possibly with blood stained sputum
Tenderness in the nipples or breast enlargement
Lower back pain
Very rarely - infertility
There is no exact cause for testicular cancer, some men who suffer from it where born with an undecided testicle. Some believe that it is hereditary while others believe that men that have fertility problems are more at risk of developing benign testicular tumors. Other causes include early puberty, previous mumps, sedentary lifestyle, overexposure to radiation or pesticides or testicular injury. You should self examine yourself at least once a month and if you do not know what to look for, ask your doctor to explain how to examine yourself. If you are diagnosed with testicular cancer, the affected testicle will be removed and analyzed to see what type of cancer it is. Other examinations will have to be performed to see if the other testicle is affected.
Exercising regularly is believed to help prevent testicular cancer. Some researchers recommend that an undecided testicle should be surgically corrected before a boy turns 10, to help reduce the risk of cancer. Regular testicle self-examination is the best way of making sure that you do not have it.
When to seek further professional advice
As soon as you feel any sort of unusual lump or swelling in the scrotum.
Even though the cure rate for testicular cancer is very high, finding out that you have cancer can be extremely traumatic and stressful and counseling is often advised.
Surgical removal of the testicle is unavoidable as it is required for examination. If cancer is found a second operation will be performed and these two operations are usually enough to cure limited testicular cancer. Chemotherapy is given as a treatment in very sever cases, however practically all testicular cancer patients are cured, but they still need to have frequent follow-up examinations.
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