Movember – Insight into testicular cancer

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Movember ends with a brief insight on testicular cancer. This concludes a month dedicated on the health wellbeing of men. Activities on No Shave Challenges and other campaigns all celebrated the MOVEMBER movement. In this month we talked about prostate cancer, mental health and suicide issues.

Today we are talking about testicular cancer: presentation, treatment and prognosis.

What is testicular cancer?

Testicular cancer refers to abnormal cell growth on the testes. The testes are male reproductive organs that are located under the penis in a long skin bag “scrotum”. The testes produce male sex hormones and sperms. Testicular cancer is a rare cancer and affects men mainly between 15 and 35 years old.

There are two types:

  • Seminomas: they grow slowly and are confined in testes but lymph nodes may be involved.
  • Nonseminomas: they grow and spread faster to other parts of the body. They are more common.

Risk factors for testicular cancer

There are many risk factors, although sometimes it is idiopathic. Below are listed a few known risk factors:

  • Family history of testicular cancer,
  • Abnormal testicular development,
  • Undescended testicle,
  • Being Caucasian male and
  • Sedentary lifestyle.

The above risk factors give only an orientation. At the moment the definite causes are still unknown. But early diagnosis is important to give a good prognosis. This cancer is curable with over 95% success rate.

Symptoms and Signs

The feeling of heaviness, visible swelling and palpable mass on the testes are common signs. Other signs and symptoms do include: back pain, abdominal dull aches, testicle discomfort and sudden fluid collection in scrotum. It is therefore important to see a doctor when noticing any of the mentioned signs.

Prevention and treatment

Routine check up is recommended as there is currently no known prevention. Regular self-examination is helpful as well.

Here’s how to do it:

  • While standing, gently but firmly roll each testicle between your thumb and fingers and feel for anything abnormal. If you come across a small, hard lump, any pain, or swelling, check with your doctor.
  • As you feel the testicle, you may notice a cordlike structure on top and in back of the testicle. This is called “the epididymis.” It is about an inch long and is sensitive but should not be painful to touch. Do not mistake this for a lump.
  • Do the exam during or after a warm bath or shower. This relaxes the skin, making it easier to feel anything unusual.
  • Sometimes, a testicle may not have a lump but could be swollen or enlarged. However, it’s normal for one of your testicles to be larger than the other. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions about your exam.

Treatment options are many including the surgical removal, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Movember is almost finished. We hope you found our past blog posts helpful. Prevention and regular check ups are vital. Speak to your medical doctor about what is recommended for your age group.

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