It is possible to feel a lump in the scrotal sacks by conducting a self-examination. Only 4% of testicular lumps turn out to be cancerous, but do not take the risk.
Testicular Cancer is one of the rarest cancers among men in the Indian sub-continent, nevertheless, awareness can help in early detection which is key to the successful treatment of cancer.
Q:What is Testicular Cancer?
Dr:The testicles are two oval glands located behind the penis in a pound of skin called the scrotum. The testicles produce sperm as well as testosterone, which is the male hormone responsible for the development of male characteristics such as facial hair, deeper voice, increased muscle mass and sex drive. When a tumour develops in one or both testicles, it is called Testicular Cancer or Cancer of the testis.
Q:Men in what age group are at elevated risk of Testicular Cancer?
Dr:Testicular Cancer is more common among young men in the age group of 20 to 40. The average age of a testicular cancer patient is 33. Boys younger than 20 years of age and men over 55 years of age are highly unlikely to develop testicular cancer.
Q:What are the risk factors for Testicular Cancer?
Dr:Besides the age factor, those with a family or personal history of Testicular Cancer are at elevated risk. Men born with undescended testicles are also at risk. Those born with congenital abnormalities of the penis, kidneys and testicles must be wary of developing testicular cancer, as those who are diagnosed with HIV.
Q:What are Undescended Testicles?
Dr:When the baby is developing in the womb, the testicles take form and develop in the abdomen. Before birth or by the time the infant completes 6 months, the testicles move down into the scrotum on their own. When this does not occur naturally, the condition is term as undescended testicles. Doctors can perform surgery to bring them down, but this does not eliminate the risk of testicular cancer.
Q:Can self-examination detect Testicular Cancer?
Dr:Yes, it is possible to feel a lump in the scrotal sacks by conducting a self-examination. This can be done while showering. Stand in front of a mirror and look for visible lumps, else support the testicles with one hand and use the other hand to carefully feel for lumps. Roll the testicles between the thumb and other fingers in search of lumps or tender spots. If you feel a lump or any pain or if the skin feels rougher/ thicker, get it checked out with the doctor. Only 4% of testicular lumps turn out to be cancerous, but do not take the risk.
Q:What are the symptoms of Testicular Cancer?
Dr:Some common symptoms are: i) Lump, pain, or discomfort in one or both testicles. ii) Swelling of one of both testicles. iii) Heaviness in the scrotum. iv) pain in the lower back, abdomen and/or groin. v) Change in the way the testicles feel. vi) Swelling of breast tissue.
Q:How does Testicular cancer affect fertility?
Dr:Testicular cancer per se does not cause infertility but it can reduce fertility even if only one testicle is affected. If the affected testicle is surgically removed to prevent the spread of cancer, the healthy testicle can still produce enough sperm and testosterone. However, if the cancer is present in both testicles, then both will be surgically removed rendering the person infertile. Chemotherapy and Radiation Therapy are also used to treat testicular cancer and can lead to infertility. Before going into treatment for Testicular Cancer, it is an innovative idea to extract healthy sperms that can be used for conception later.
Q:Will the individual be able to have sex after Testicular cancer?
Dr:The person can go back to his usual sex life once the body recovers from testicular cancer treatment. The side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy can be rough. Two to three weeks after treatment, side effects will ebb. Give your body time to recover and grow stronger.
Q:What is the survival rate for Testicular cancer?
Dr:Like any cancer, Testicular Cancer is a serious condition. However, the survival rate is 95% and increases to 99% when detected and treated in its preliminary stages. Interestingly, even when cancer metastasizes or spreads outside the testicles.
CONSULTANT – RADIATION ONCOLOGY
MBBS, DM RT, DNB (RADIOTION ONCOLOGY)