Testicular cancer is a type of urology cancer that develops in one or both testicles of young and old men. It generally occurs in germ cells due to abnormal growth of cells in the testicles that makes and store sperm. Testicular cancer is quite rare and usually has a high treatment rate.
Types of testicular cancer
Causes and symptoms
There could be many risk factors that cause testicular cancer, but doctors aren’t sure of them. These risk factors include having an undescended testicle and Klinefelter syndrome. Age plays an important role in causing the condition as people between the age of 20-45 have a higher risk. Other factors include cryptorchidism, race, family history with similar defect, personal medical history, HIV and AIDS.
- A lump in one or both testicles
- Pain and swelling in the testicles
- Change in how testicles feel
- Heavy or larger testicles
- Breast growth
- Stomach pain
- Headache and confusion
- Sudden build up of fluid in the scrotum
- Shortness of breath
When experiencing the above mentioned symptoms, it is necessary to see the doctor who can perform several tests to find out the exact cause. In order to diagnose testicular cancer, doctor performs tests such as physical examination and history, ultrasound, blood tests, CT scan , MRI, PET scan or a biopsy, which provides a clear image of the tumor’s size and location.
Treatment options can be decided once the doctor examines the test results thoroughly. The results will allow him/her to understand your overall health condition along with how much the cancer has advanced to the body. Below are given some of the most common treatment methods for curing testicular cancer.
- Surgery: The most common and effective treatment for testicular cancer is a surgical procedure where the surgeon removes the tumor (inguinal orchiectomy) and some of the surrounding tissue to ensure no cancer cells are left behind.
- Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy involves high energy x-rays aimed at the cancer location to shrink the cancer cells. The treatment is given over a set period of time and sometimes it is given after the surgery.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy treatment uses anti-cancer drugs to be given to the patient through a pill or injection that kills the cancer cells and stop their further growth. It is sometimes given alongside radiotherapy to provide better results.
- Surveillance: This treatment involves following the patient’s condition without giving any treatment at all unless changes occur in the test results. It is mainly used to detect recurrence.
- Stem cell transplant: High dose chemotherapy with stem cell transplant is given to replace the stem cells or immature blood cells with new ones provided by the donor.
The side effects of testicular cancer treatment are usual and vary from patient to patient. It also depends on the kind of treatment option given and how severe the cancer was. Here are the complications of testicular cancer treatment.
- Reduced sex drive
- Inability to achieve erection
- Loss of muscles or bone mass
- Decreased sperm count
- Bowel obstruction
- Pain during sex and ejaculation
- Fatigue and weakness
Post operative care
Once the treatment is finished, your doctor will require to have a close look at your health for months and years to come. Make sure to visit every doctor visit where several imaging tests and physical examinations will be done to make sure you are having a healthy recovery.
Look for signs and symptoms that show recurrence and notify the doctor immediately. If the cancer does come back, treatment can be done easily without the need of surgery.
Avoid having sexual intercourse or any vigorous activity for a few weeks.
Having a healthy and nutritious is extremely necessary for better and faster recovery.