Testicular cancer is a disease in which cells become malignant (cancerous) in one or both testicles. The testicles (also called testes or gonads) are a pair of male sex glands. They produce and store sperm and are the main source of testosterone (male hormones) in men. These hormones control the development of the reproductive organs and other male physical characteristics. The testicles are located under the penis in a sac-like pouch called the scrotum.
Based on the characteristics of the cells in the tumor, testicular cancers are classified as seminomas or nonseminomas. Other types of cancer that arise in the testicles are rare and are not described here. Seminomas may be one of three types: classic, anaplastic, or spermatocytic. Types of nonseminomas include choriocarcinoma, embryonal carcinoma, teratoma, and yolk sac tumors. Testicular tumors may contain both seminoma and nonseminoma cells.
Signs and Symptoms of Testicular Cancer
- a painless lump or swelling in a testicle
- pain or discomfort in a testicle or in the scrotum
- any enlargement of a testicle or change in the way it feels
- a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
- a dull ache in the lower abdomen, back, or groin
- a sudden collection of fluid in the scrotum
Risk Factors for Testicular Cancer
- Undescended testicle (cryptorchidism):One of the main risk factors for testicular cancer is a condition called cryptorchidism, or undescended testicle(s). This means that one or both testicles fail to move from the abdomen (belly) into the scrotum before birth.
- Congenital abnormalities: Men born with abnormalities of the testicles, penis, or kidneys may be at increased risk.
- History of testicular cancer: Men who have had testicular cancer are at increased risk of developing cancer in the other testicle.
- Family history of testicular cancer: The risk for testicular cancer is greater in men whose brother or father has had the disease.
Treatments for Testicular Cancer
- Radical Orchiectomy:Orchiectomy is the removal of one or both testicles (testes). The testicles are the male sex organs that produce sperm and the male hormone, testosterone. An orchiectomy is a common treatment for testicular cancer.
- Laparoscopic Retroperitoneal Lymph Node Dissection:Retroperitoneal lymph node dissection (RPLND) is a procedure to remove abdominal lymph nodes to treat testicular cancer, as well as help establish its exact stage and type. It is usually performed using an incision that extends from the sternum to several inches below the navel. While laparoscopic methods may be used, they have been considered less effective by some surgeons.
- Chemotherapy and radiotherapy