Testicular Lumps: Could They Be Cancer?
Testicular cancer is a rare kind of disease among men. But in recent years, the number of diagnosed testicular cancer patients has disturbingly increased. The disease is most common among American males of the ages 15 to 34. And to date, the definite cause of testicular cancer has yet been determined.
The testicles, also known as the testes, are the two small oval shaped organs located inside the scrotum. The scrotum is the pouch of skin, which hangs below the male reproductive organ. Starting from the age of puberty, the testicles produce the sperm that can fertilize the female egg.
As estimated by the American Cancer Society, there will be around 8,250 new cases of testicular cancer diagnosed in the United States in the year 2006. And in the same year, an estimated 370 men will die of this disease.
Testicular cancer is considered to be one of the most curable kinds of cancer. As the records of the National Cancer Institute show, 96% is the 5-year survival rate for all men stricken with this cancer. The 5-year survival rate translates to the percentage of diagnosed cancer patients who live at least 5 years after the cancer has been diagnosed. Nearly 140,000 men who have won the battle against testicular cancer over the years in the United States further support the 96% five-year relative survival rate.
Any change in the appearance of the testicles should merit a visit to the doctors. This includes the presence of lumps, swelling, or any irregularity in one testicle. The doctor must carry out a physical examination as to be able to rule out other possible conditions, which could result to the same symptoms.
The other early-warning signs that may manifest include:
1. an unusual heavy feeling or discomfort in the scrotum
2. presence of dull ache in the affected testicle or the lower abdomen
3. presence of hydrocele - a fluid collection in the scrotum
4. unexplainable fatigue with a general feeling of being unwell
5. enlargement or tenderness of the tissues in the breast area
Testicular cancer is easily detectable through blood tests. Most doctors refer to this as markers. Therefore making testicular cancer one of the most curable kinds of cancers.
There are several treatments for testicular cancer, but of course these treatments must be tailored to each patient's condition. Things to consider include the type of cancer and how far the cancer has spread.
Orchidectomy or the removal of the affected testis through surgery is the normal treatment for cancer of the testicles. In cases when the cancer has spread to the lymph glands in the patient's abdomen, these may also be surgically removed.
Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are also options for treating testicular cancer. However, these kinds of treatment may result to short-term side effects. These may include, but are not limited to, vomiting, nausea, and temporary hair loss. These are only temporary and will get better once treatment is completed.
Chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments may also temporarily interfere with the production of sperm cells. The patient's fertility may be affected during this time. As a common precaution among men who will subject to this type of treatment, storing their sperm in a sperm bank before undergoing treatment is an option.