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Testicular cancer starts in the male gland known as a testicle or testis two are called testicles, or testes. Though it can affect a man or boy at any age, it is most often found in men age 15 to 44 years. With early diagnosis, testicular cancer can be cured. With treatment, the risk of death from this cancer is small. Doctors treating testicular cancer will aim to limit treatment side effects. To catch this cancer early, men are encouraged to learn about early s, learn how to do a testicular self-exam and talk with a health care provider if there is a suspicious lump, swelling, or pain in the area.
The testicles are part of the male reproductive system. These two small egg-shaped glands are held in a sac scrotum below the penis. The testicles have a firm, slightly spongy feel. The firmness of the testicle should be the same throughout. The size of the testicles should also be about the same, though one may be larger than the other. At the top and outside edge is a rubbery, tube-like structure called the epididymis. The testicles are where sperm mature. The testicles also make male hormones such as testosterone. This hormone controls the sex drive in men.
It also starts the growth of muscle, bone and body hair. If you find any lump or firm part of the testicle, you should see a doctor to find out if it is a tumor. Very few men who have testicular cancer felt pain at first. Many men do not tell their health care provider about these s. On average, men wait for about five months before saying anything.
Since the tumor can spread during that time, it is vital to reach out to a urologist if you notice any of these s. This is especially true if a lasts for more than two weeks. It may not be possible to avoid risk factors for testicular cancer. The best plan is to catch it early. Men with the highest risk are:.
If you fall into any of these , do a testicular self-exam each month. The self-exam may help you catch problems early, when treatment is easier. By itself, microlithiasis small calcifications in the testicle is not a risk factor for testicular cancer. Men with a history of undescended testicles cryptorchidism are more likely to develop a tumor than other men. This means that a testicle did not drop from the abdomen into the scrotum before birth. The abdomen is where the testes form in fetal development.
Surgery can repair this issue, but testicular cancer may still develop in about 8 out of patients. The best time to do a testicular self-exam is after a warm bath or shower, while standing, when the scrotum is relaxed. It only takes a few minutes.
To start:. If you notice a lump or any changes over time, you should seek medical help. It may be nothing, but if it is testicular cancer, it can spread very quickly. When found early, testicular cancer is very curable.
If you have any questions or concerns, talk to your urologist. If your urologist finds cancer through these exams, he or she will want to learn the exact cancer cell-type and if it has spread. Unlike other cancers, your doctor does not take a tissue sample biopsy before surgery. With testicular cancer, cells are looked at after surgery is done to remove the cancerous tissue. These are the cells that make sperm. The main types of germ cell tumors GCTs in the testicles are either seminomas or non-seminomas:.
There are also rare testicular cancers from cells that support other roles. Leydig cell tumors form from the Leydig cells that make testosterone. Sertoli cell tumors come from the Sertoli cells that support normal sperm growth. Testicular cancer may involve more than one cell-type. The best treatment will depend on the diagnosis such as stage and risk of the cancer coming back after treatment and whether the disease has spread.
Often, a team of doctors urologist, oncologist, radiation oncologist will work together to find the best treatment plan for each patient. Choices will be based on the exact diagnosis and health of the patient. Treatment options include:. Before any treatment starts, men should talk with their urologist about if they want to have . Infertility and changes in male hormones are common after certain treatments. Sperm banking may be useful before treatment, mostly if you hope to have children in the future.
Men can also ask about a testicular prosthesis fake body part before surgery. Surveillance is a way to look for changes with normal check-ups. These include a physical exam, tumor marker tests, and imaging tests. Imaging tests start with an ultrasound of the scrotum. They can also involve chest x-rays or CT scans. No matter what treatment, most men should be checked for s of low-testosterone as well. If the cancer shows s of growth, or if hormone levels change, then more treatment may be offered.
If not, only surveillance is needed. Surgery is the main treatment for testicular cancer. Most often, an orchiectomy is done to remove the entire testis. Depending on the diagnosis, other options may be offered. Changes in fertility should be discussed first. Radiation is used to kill cancer cells on the testis or in nearby lymph nodes. It is used for seminoma-cell cancers, because some forms of non-seminoma are resistant to radiation.
It may be an option if testicular cancer either type has spread to distant organs like the brain. There are a few radiation therapy types used. Chemotherapy is used for cancers that spread beyond the testicles, or if tumor markers rise after surgery.
Serum tumor markers and imaging tests help guide how much chemotherapy to use, and if it can help. These drugs travel through the body in the bloodstream and cause side effects. They can wipe out cancer cells that may have traveled to lymph nodes. It's also used to help lower the risk of cancer coming back after surgery. Sometimes, more than one chemotherapy drug may be combined for testicular cancer treatment. These drugs are given in three or four, three-week cycles. Sometimes more surgery will be done to remove tumors after chemo. Beyond basic surgery, care depends on the type of cancer cell and .
Even if cancer was found early and treated, follow-up tests are recommended. Testicular tumors in children are rare. As with men, this cancer often begins as a painless lump. The most common type in boys are yolk sac tumors and teratomas.
The cancer cell-types found are:. After treatment, children are checked for at least two years to make sure all is well. Physical exams, tumor marker tests and chest x-rays are common follow-up tests. Most often boys do not look different if a testicle is removed.
The scrotum is not cut and the other testicle keeps growing. If a boy does not like the result, a prosthesis is an option. This is most often done after puberty. It can take two weeks to two months to fully recover from an orchiectomy.
Things like exercise, sports and running should be avoided for about four weeks after surgery. Still, it is important to learn how to do a testicular self-exam. Also, regular follow-up visits with your urologist will be important. How often, and for how long follow-up care is needed is based on your diagnosis.
If cancer returns, the doctor will want to find it and treat it quickly. Additional treatment depends on the cancer type and location. RPLND surgery, radiation and chemotherapy are options. The removal of one testicle should not change your sexual energy or fertility chances of having .
Most men can have a normal erection after surgery. Still, men diagnosed with testicular cancer have a higher risk of infertility and low testosterone than the others. You may also have a brief decrease in sperm growth. If lymph nodes were removed, it may be harder to ejaculate. If you have problems, there are drugs that can help with ejaculation. If you are worried, talk with your doctor. You can also keep in mind using a bank sperm before treatment.
As you heal, your body will find balance. Over time, the healthy testicle and lymph nodes will make enough testosterone to help you return to normal. Your doctor may check hormone levels on an annual basis as part of your check-up. Their risk for cardiovascular disease rises after treatment. Simple lifestyle changes can prevent problems. Be sure to ask for regular check-ups to test your blood pressure, lipid and glucose levels.
Most often, no new tumor will grow after treatment. Self-exams are very helpful for piece-of-mind. Monthly self-exams are the best way to find a tumor early. Check the testicles right after a hot bath or shower when the scrotal skin is most relaxed. The exam should be done while standing and it only takes a few minutes.Male will strip free for anyage female
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