Testicular cancer is the most common cancer affecting males between the ages of 15 and 35.
Symptoms of Testicular Cancer
Testicular cancer most often manifests itself as a painless lump or swelling within the testicle. A “heavy” or “dull ache” may accompany the lump or swelling. Testicular cancer is rarely painful. All males with a mass or nodule within the testicle should seek evaluation by a urologist.
Evaluation and Treatment
A thorough history and physical examination is important in the diagnosis of testicular cancer. A history of an “undescended testicle” or a testicle that was not within the scrotum at birth is the most significant risk factor for testicular cancer. When this condition is diagnosed at birth, males usually undergo a “hernia repair” at which time the testicle is placed within the scrotum. Blood work is obtained because certain testicular cancers release proteins (testicular tumor markers) that can be measured, helping ascertain the type and extent of cancer present.
When a testicular mass is discovered, the testicle is surgically removed promptly to identify which type of cancer is present.
A CT scan of the abdomen/pelvis, and chest x-ray, are obtained once the diagnosis of testicular cancer is made to help the urologist direct appropriate treatment. In addition to surgical removal of the testicle, further therapy in the form of surgery, radiation or chemotherapy is offered based on which type of cancer is identified.
Overall, testicular cancer is highly curable when diagnosed and treated promptly.