Backround: Understanding testicular cancer
Published Tuesday, March 25, 2014 5:03PM EDT
Each year between 900 and 1,000 men develop testicular cancer in Canada, but it is a highly treatable disease if it is found early.
It is most common among males aged 15–40.
In 2009, the latest year statistics are available, 29 men died of the disease.
While there isn’t a known, single cause of testicular cancer, most cancers are the result of many risk factors. However, some men with testicular cancer do not have any identifiable risk factors.
Risk factors include an undescended testicle, family history of testicular cancer, personal history of testicular cancer and Klinefelter syndrome, which is a chromosomal condition.
By catching testicular cancer early, you can potentially diminish the severity of the disease and shorten the length of treatment required.
- Painless lump on testicle that is persistent
- Feeling of heaviness or aching in the lower abdomen or scrotum
- Painful testicle
- Enlarged lymph nodes in abdomen or neck
- There could be back pain, a buildup of fluid in the abdomen, cough, shortness of breath if cancer spreads
Checking for lumps:
- Check your testicles just after you've had a bath or shower, when the muscles in the scrotum are relaxed, making it easier for you to feel any lumps, growths or tenderness
- Hold your scrotum in your hands and feel the size and weight of each testicle
- Feel each testicle and roll it between your thumb and finger. It should feel smooth. You shouldn’t feel any pain.
- Once familiar with how your testicles feel, keep an eye out for any changes.
Cancer treatment is handled by oncologists. Some specialize in surgery, some in radiation therapy and others in chemotherapy drugs. Doctors work with patients to decide on the best treatment.
- Radiation therapy
- High-dose chemotherapy with stem cell transplant
Sources: Testicular Cancer Canada, University Health Network, Canadian Cancer Society