Patient's Complete Guide to Testicular Cancers

Overview of Testicular Cancers

Testicular cancer also known as ( خُصیَہ ک رَسولی  / khusia ki rasuli). It is particularly a male health problem. The testicles reside inside the loose bag of skin below the penis. Testicles are responsible for the production of hormones and sperm in male reproduction.

As compared to other countries, it is rarely prevalent in Pakistani males. Males between the ages of 15 to 44 are more prone to testicular cancer.
Testicular cancer is a highly treatable cancer, even though it can spread to other organs. The main focus is on the determination of stage and type of cancer to treat properly.

Signs and Symptoms of Testicular Cancers

Testicular cancer symptoms can be detected at early stages, but in some cases, symptoms do not appear until it becomes severe. It is very important to identify the symptoms early by conducting regular testicular self-exams.
A person should consult an oncologist if lumps or any transformation in the testicles is noticed. It should be noted that a lump does not always mean cancer. So, you need to know other symptoms as well.

Some of the common symptoms are:

  • Feeling Pressure: Individuals with testicular cancer may feel pressure in one or both testicles. This pressure will be increased during urination and ejaculation.
  • Testicular Heaviness: Individuals feel testicles heavy and show a feeling of fullness.
  • Leg or Scrotal Swelling:  Swelling may occur in the groin, testicle, or leg due to changes in blood and fluid flow in the body.
  • Breast Problems:  People having testicular cancer suffer from an overgrowth of lumps in the infected cells of the body. Infected cells discharge human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) hormone and when its level rises and accumulates in the body that can directly affect male breasts. Due to this, male breasts start to grow, a condition known as gynecomastia. This will also cause breast soreness.
  • Changes in Testicles Appearance: Male testes are not identical. Testicular cancer may change the one testicle having a different shape or size.
  • Pain: The lumps in testicles may also cause pain and feeling of discomfort in the affected testicle.

Other Metastasis Symptoms

When testicular cancer spread to other parts of the body, these symptoms may start to appear

  • Gynecomastia
  • Headaches
  • Lower back pain
  • A neck mass
  • An upset stomach
  • Respiratory problems, such as a cough or shortness of breath. If the cough is coming with blood then it indicates that cancer has spread to the lungs

Causes of Testicular Cancers

The causes of testicular cancer are still not clear yet. As per various studies, it is due to the alteration in healthy cells of the testicle that starts to grow and divide abnormally. As the division of cells increases, it forms an accumulating mass of cells in the testicles.
Approximately, all testicular cancers begin in the germ cells that produce immature sperm but the causing factor is still unknown.

Risk Factors of Testicular Cancers

  • An Undescended Testicle (cryptorchidism):  Normally, the testes are developed inside the abdominal area of the fetus and it descends into the scrotum before birth. But those men whose testes are not functioning properly, it is due to the testes descend into the scrotum. This increases the chance of causing testicular cancer.
  • HIV Infection: A person whose HIV tests remain positive are more prone to testicular cancer.
  • Age: It can occur at any age but mostly affects teens and younger men especially between the ages of  15 and 35.
  • Ethnicity: Most common in white men as compared to black men.

Health Complications of Testicular Cancer

Lower back pain is the most common health complication when cancer starts to spread to surrounding lymph nodes. Shortness of breath, coughing up blood, and chronic cough are other health complications if cancer spreads to the lungs.

Prevention

Experts say that you cannot prevent testicular cancer but can diagnose early with regular testicular self-examination.

Diagnosis

Self-examination is a significant sign of identifying testicular cancer at an early stage. It can be done by checking lumps in the testes. That's why it is necessary to do a self-examination on a routine basis. To determine the exact cause of  lumps in testes for evaluation, an Oncologist may recommend:

  • Ultrasound: It is used to check the state of the scrotum and testicles. The image of both organs shows on the computer screen. It is helpful for the state of testicular lumps whether it is solid or fluid-filled or it is inside or outside.
  • Blood Tests: In this test, the tumour markers level in blood are checked. These markers are the substances that are normally present in the blood but can be increased in testicular cancer. If the level is high, it does not mean that individual has cancer, but rather it is another approach of diagnosis for helping the medical specialist.
  • Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan: It is the X-ray of the abdomen, chest, and pelvis and is used to detect the signs of cancer that has spread.

Treatment of Testicular Cancers | When to Consult a Doctor

Treatment of testicular cancer is based on the severity of the condition.

  • Surgery

If testicular cancer has spread to other parts then oncologists may recommend surgery for the removal of bulgy men testes. Surgery is done to remove nearby lymph nodes (retroperitoneal lymph node dissection) to avoid damaging nerves around the lymph nodes. Damaged nerves can cause difficulty with ejaculation, but not to prevent a patient from erection.

  • Radiation Therapy

It is used to kill cancerous cells through high powered energy beams. The energy beams target the specific points of the body when a machine moves around the patient.
Postoperative treatment is necessary after the surgery. This choice of treatment is mostly used for those patients who are suffering from seminoma type of testicular cancer.

These are a few side effects that may occur:

  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Skin redness
  • Irritation in Abdominal and groin areas

Consult an oncologist, before radiotherapy as it has side effects on the sperm count and fertility in men.

  • Chemotherapy 

It is a kind of treatment in which drugs are used to kill cancerous cells. It is specifically opted for malignant tumours. An oncologist may recommend this treatment before and after lymph node surgery.

Chemotherapy side effects are developed according to the type of drugs, but common side effects are:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Hair loss.

An oncologist may also prescribe some medications that reduce the chemotherapy side effects. It may have a possibility to cause infertility permanently so you should discuss your treatment with a doctor beforehand.

So, if any individual has the following symptoms he should consult an oncologist:

  • A feeling of firmness in the testicle or scrotum
  • Feeling heavy scrotum
  • Swelling in the scrotum
  • Pain in the testicle or scrotum

Speciality for Testicular Cancers

Call for assistance
042 32500989