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Testicular Cancer

Symptoms, risk factors and treatment for testicular cancer

Testicular cancer is still one of the least talked-about forms of cancer, perhaps because of its sensitive nature. But as testicular cancer awareness grows, more and more sufferers are getting treatment sooner, which increases the success of treatment.

Testicular cancer affects young men, generally between the ages of 20 and 39. It has one of the highest cure rates of all cancers, with over 90 percent of patients diagnosed beating the disease. There are different types, with the type of testicular cancer being determined by the type of cells that are afflicted.

Testicular Cancer Symptoms

The most common symptom of testicular cancer is pain. Testicular cancer pain is typically sharp pain, and is often accompanied by lumps or nodules inside the testicle. Other symptoms include enlargement of the testicles, pain in the lower abdomen, back or groin, and swelling of the scrotum.

Because many of the symptoms are physical, they often go unnoticed. Just like with women and breast cancer, it's important to pay attention to any abnormalities in the testicular area and report them to a doctor immediately.

Testicular Cancer Risk Factors

Factors that may increase the risk of testicular cancer include the following:

  • An undescended testicle. The risk of cancer is higher in men who had a testicle that did not fall into the scrotum before birth. This still applies even if surgery was performed to move the testicle into its proper location.
  • Abnormal development of the testicles. Certain conditions and diseases, such as Klinefelter's syndrome (a condition that gives men an extra X chromosome), may increase the risk for testicular cancer.
  • Family history. If other males in the family have testicular cancer, your risk goes up.

Additional factors, such as age (affecting younger men) and race (testicular cancer is more common in white men) also increase risk.

Treatment

Testicular cancer treatment is determined by the type and stage of the cancer as well as the patient's overall health. Surgery is the primary treatment, in which the affected testicle is removed through an incision in the groin area. A prosthetic testicle can be put in place if the patient chooses.

In some cases, surgery may be all the treatment that is necessary, but in others, radiation and chemotherapy may also be prescribed to ensure the cancerous cells are destroyed.

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