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Testicular Cancer

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Testicular cancer is one of the most treatable and survivable types of cancer. The disease occurs when cells of one or both testicles become cancerous. A disease most often associated with young men, testicular cancer is most commonly diagnosed in men between 20 and 39, and is the most common cancer type found in men ages 15 to 34. The disease is essentially unpreventable as most risk factors are present at birth, and men with no risk factors can also be diagnosed with testicular cancer. However, if detected and treated in early stages, testicular cancer patients have a 99 percent chance of survival after five years. Most cases of testicular cancer are initially identified by the patient, making self-observation critical to early detection.

Statistics 

  • In 2014, an estimated 8,820 new cases of testicular cancer and 380 deaths from the disease will occur in the United States.
  • In Texas, it is estimated that 648 men will be diagnosed with testicular cancer, and 35 will die of the disease in 2014.
  • Testicular cancer is very rare in the scope of all forms of cancer. About one in 270 males will have testicular cancer in their lifetime and an estimated one in 5,000 men will die from the disease.
  • The rate of testicular cancer cases has doubled in American white men in the last 20 years. The reason is unknown.

Risk Factors 

  • Age: Men between the ages of 20 and 34 account for about half of all testicular cancer cases.
  • Family History: Men with close relatives (father or brother) who have had testicular cancer face an increased risk for the disease.
  • Race: American white men are more likely to develop testicular cancer than other races.
  • Undescended Testicle: Men who have one or two undescended testicles face a significantly increased risk for testicular cancer. Surgery to correct an undescended testicle does not decrease risk.
  • HIV/AIDS: Men with HIV and AIDS have an elevated risk of testicular cancer.

Symptoms 

Many cases of testicular cancer are detected by men who report unusual symptoms to their physicians. Monthly self-checks are very important for the early detection of testicular cancer. If these symptoms are present, men are encouraged to consult their physician for proper testing:

  • Discomfort in the groin, lower abdomen, area
  • Build-up of blood or fluid in the scrotum
  • Swollen testicles or a lump with no pain
  • Change in feeling in the testicle
  • Pain or hardness in the testicle or scrotum area
  • Heavy feeling in the scrotum

Treatment Options 

Testicular cancer is a very treatable cancer, especially if identified in the early stages. Treatment options vary depending on how advanced the cancer is and if it has spread to other parts of the body. Physicians will determine the most appropriate treatment for each patient, but possible treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and stem cell transplants.

Sources: American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Sean Kimerling Testicular Cancer Foundation, and Texas Cancer Registry