Testicular cancer is a type of growth that affects testicles, which are also called testes. The last are male reproductive organs located in the scrotum, a loose skin bag under the penis. The primary role of testicles is the production of sperm and male sex hormones. Therefore, the proper functionality of testes is essential for reproduction.
Testicular cancer is a comparably rare type of cancer. Nevertheless, according to statistics, American men between ages 15 and 35 encounter testicular cancer more often than other growth forms. Luckily, testicular cancer is relatively easy treatable. It is true even for cases when the growth extends beyond the testicles. There are several methods of treatment. The doctor assigns it to the patient according to the type and stage of testicular cancer.
Testicular cancer causes
Usually, healthy cells grow and divide in the ordered manner. These mechanisms are under control to ensure the normal functioning of the body. Nonetheless, sometimes cells may gain errors in their DNA, called mutations. Due to these errors, the cell develops abnormalities and starts dividing without any control. Such a cell is called a cancerous cell. The accumulation of cancerous cells in the testicles forms a mass known as a lump. The last is a sign of testicular cancer.
Almost every testicular cancer begins in the germ cells. In males, they are the cells in the testicles that produce immature sperm. Unfortunately, now there is no knowledge about what causes germ cells to develop into a cancerous one.
Risk factors for testicular cancer development
Although the exact cause of testicular cancer is unknown, a group of factors can increase the person’s risk of its development. This group includes:
- abnormal testicle development
- cryptorchidism (testicles that didn’t move into their proper position in the scrotum)
- family history of testicular cancer
- age between 15 and 35
- race (testicular cancer is more common in white men in comparison with black men)
Testicular cancer symptoms
Among symptoms and signs of testicular cancer, there are:
- a lump or swelling in one of the testicles
- painful sensations or any other discomfort in the testicle or the scrotum
- a feeling that the scrotum is heavy
- dull pain in the groin or abdomen
- a sudden accumulation of the fluid in the scrotum
- breasts become larger or more tender
It is worth mentioning that cancer usually develops in only one testicle.
When to see a doctor
It is essential to see a doctor if you noticed any lumps, enlargement or pain in your testicles or groin. In particular, the person should be concerned if the symptoms of testicular cancer last more than two weeks.
Is it possible to prevent testicular cancer?
Unfortunately, there is no method to prevent the development of testicular cancer. Some doctors recommend that men perform self-examination of testicles regularly. It may help to identify testicular cancer at the early stage. In contrast, other doctors disagree with this opinion. The best way is to discuss self-examination with your healthcare provider to decide whether it is appropriate for you.