Testicular cancer originates from the cells in the testicles that are part of the male reproductive system. The risk factors of testicular cancer include a positive family history of the disease, undescended testis, and previous history of testicular cancer. There are several types of testicular cancer with germ cell tumors being the most common. Germ cell tumors can then be categorized into seminomas and nonseminomas. The diagnosis of testicular cancer can be made with the help of a patient’s history, physical examination, blood tests, and ultrasound. The type of testicular cancer can be determined after a microscopic examination of the removed testicle.
Testicular cancer is very treatable and usually curable. The treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and stem cell transplantation. Even in widely spread testicular cancer, it has been observed that chemotherapy offers a cure rate of more than 80 percent. In 2015, it has been estimated that testicular cancer affected approximately 686,000 individuals globally and resulted in 9,400 deaths. The rates of testicular cancer are lower in the developing countries compared to the developing world. It most commonly affects males 20 to 34 years old and is considered to be rare before the age of 15 years old. In the United States, the five year survival rate for testicular cancer is estimated to be 95 percent. The prognosis increases when the disease is localized.
Symptom #1: Testicular Lump or Swelling
A testicular lump or swelling is one of the hallmarks of testicular cancer. It is one of the earliest symptoms. Patients often present with a testicle that has become swollen, larger, or has a nodule. The lump or swelling is often painless (in some cases, there is associated pain).
On examination, the nodule cannot be separated from the testis. Since it is one of the first symptoms of testicular cancer it is recommended that men with risk factors of testicular cancer examine their testicles monthly.