Testicular cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the testicles, which are the male reproductive glands located in the scrotum. It is a relatively rare form of cancer, but it is the most common cancer among young men between the ages of 15 and 35.Testicular cancer usually begins in the cells that produce sperm, called germ cells. There are two main types of testicular cancer based on the type of cell that is affected:
Testicular cancer often presents as a painless lump or swelling in one of the testicles. Other symptoms may include a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum, pain or discomfort in the testicles or scrotum, and a dull ache in the lower abdomen or groin. In some cases, there may be swelling or lumps in the lymph nodes of the neck, chest, or abdomen. Testicular cancer is highly treatable, and in most cases, it can be cured with surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy. Early detection and treatment are key to a successful outcome, so it's important for men to perform regular self-exams of their testicles and to report any unusual lumps or changes to their healthcare provider.
Screening - The National Institutes of Health (NIH) does not recommend routine testicular cancer screening for all men. This is because testicular cancer is a relatively rare form of cancer, and routine screening has not been shown to be effective in reducing mortality from the disease. However, the NIH does recommend that men perform regular self-exams of their testicles to detect any unusual lumps or changes. This is particularly important for men who are at increased risk of testicular cancer, such as those with a family history of the disease, or those who have had an undescended testicle or testicular cancer in the past. If a man detects any changes or abnormalities during a self-exam, he should contact his healthcare provider immediately for further evaluation. Additionally, men should discuss their individual risk factors for testicular cancer with their healthcare provider, and together they can determine if additional screening, such as ultrasound or blood tests, is warranted.
Risk Factors - There are several known risk factors for testicular cancer. Some of the most common risk factors include:
It's important to note that having one or more of these risk factors does not necessarily mean that a man will develop testicular cancer. However, men with one or more of these risk factors should be aware of the potential increased risk and discuss any concerns with their healthcare provider.
There are several blood tests that can be used to detect testicular cancer or monitor its progression. However, it's important to note that blood tests alone are not typically used to diagnose testicular cancer, as they are not always reliable indicators of the disease. The most commonly used blood tests for testicular cancer are:
It's important to note that these tests can also be elevated in other conditions, so they are not definitive diagnostic tools for testicular cancer. If a man has elevated levels of any of these markers, further testing, such as ultrasound or biopsy, may be necessary to confirm a diagnosis of testicular cancer.
Here are some resources in Rhode Island that may be helpful for people with testicular cancer:
I hope these resources are helpful. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list, and there may be other resources available in Rhode Island that could be beneficial to those with testicular cancer.