What is testicular cancer?
Testicular cancer is cancer that develops in one or both testicles. There are several types of testicular cancer however the most common type is a germ cell tumour. This means that the cancer starts in cells that develop into sperm. Testicular cancer can spread to lymph nodes and other parts of the body.
Who gets testicular cancer?
Testicular cancer strikes young! Although it isn’t a common type of cancer, it is the second most common cancer diagnosed in men aged 18-39 after skin cancer. About 700 men are diagnosed with testicular cancer in Australia each year.
What are the risk factors?
The exact cause of testicular cancer is unknown. Factors that increase the risk of developing testicular cancer include:
- Age (it is most commonly diagnosed in men aged 20-40)
- Undescended testes
- Family history
- If you’ve had testicular cancer before
What are the symptoms?
Testicular cancer sometimes has no noticeable symptoms. If you notice one or more of the following symptoms you should book an appointment with your GP. These symptoms don’t always mean testicular cancer but it is important to have them checked out
- Swelling or a lump in your testicle (which is usually painless)
- A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
- Change in testicle size or shape
- Pain in the lower abdomen, scrotum or testicles
How to self check?
Cancers that are caught early are the easiest to treat. The best thing you can do is regular self checks and if something doesn’t feel right, head to the doctor. Get into the habit of regularly checking after a warm shower. Check for any lumps, swelling or pain.
How is testicular cancer diagnosed?
- Physical examination of the testes
- Ultrasound to differentiate between tumours and other causes of lumps
- Blood tests to look for markers in the blood which indicate testicular cancer
How is testicular cancer treated?
Testicular cancer is a very treatable and often curable type of cancer. Treatment includes:
- Orchiectomy (surgical removal of the affected testical)
- Radiotherapy or chemotherapy. This treatment usually happens after the affected testical has been removed to treat any remaining cancerous cells in the surrounding area.