Testicular cancer is malignant cell growth in one or both testicles. It is the rare form of male reproductive system cancer and very much treatable. Testicular cancer can affect individual at any age but most commonly reported in male from 15-45 yr of age group.
Risk factors of testicular cancer are:
- Underdeveloped testicles or Cryptorchidism is an important sign in all testicular cancer cases. In newborns testicle generally moves down to scrotum by first year or latest by puberty, if left untreated it can increase risk for cancer.
- Carcinoma in situ (CIS) or abnormal cells in testicles can increase risk of testicular cancer by 50%. Presence of CIS is usually indicative of lump in testicles but if left untreated can cause malignancy.
- Personal history of testicular cancer increases the risk by 12 to 18 times in lifetime. A chance being more this type of cancer is very rare and it is important to attend all follow up appointments after treatment. Family with sons and brothers with testicular cancer have higher chances of having owing to inheritance of abnormal genes.
- Hypospadias is abnormality of penis or urethra is at higher risk of getting testicular cancer.
- Inguinal hernia increases chances of testicular cancer.
Sign and Symptoms of testicular cancer are:
- Enlargement or lump in either of testicle.
- Heaviness in scrotum.
- A mild ache in groin or lower abdomen.
- Sudden fluid collection in scrotum.
- Pain or heaviness in testis.
- Tenderness or enlargement of breast. Certain tumors make hormone imbalance to cause growth in breast tissue leading to condition of gynecomastia.
- Back pain for prolonged time.
Infertility is also observed as a common condition in cases with testicular cancer. It is important to visit doctor if you feel lump or pain in groin area for more than 2 weeks. Physical examination of testis followed by blood test is used to detect testicular cancer. Serum tumor marker – Alpha fetoprotein (AFP) and beta- human chorionic gonadotropin (ɓ-HCG) are checked to confirm the diagnosis.
Tumor markers are checked before inguinal orchiectomy (incision in groin to remove testicle) and biopsy. If any malignancy found – seminoma or non seminoma plan of treatment is undermine thereafter. Surgical expertise is very important in this entire process as a wrong incision can cause spread of cancer through scrotum and lymph nodes.
Prognosis and treatment depends on stage of cancer, size of tumor and number of retroperitoneal lymph nodes. Testicular cancer is usually cured in patient who receives adjuvant therapy and radiation therapy after primary treatment.
As with fewer cases in India not much scientific research data is available on testicular cancer. But vital information that is identified in major cases is infertility after cure of testicular cancer. Certain treatment for testicular cancer causes permanent infertility. Those individual who desire to become a parent should go for sperm banking prior to undergoing a treatment under consultation of a fertility expert.