April is testicular cancer awareness month which is dedicated to increasing awareness about testicular cancer and emphasizing the importance of early detection for reduced risk and increased chances of survival. Testicular cancer occurs in the testicles, which are located in the scrotum. The American Cancer Society estimates 9,470 new testicular cancer cases will be diagnosed in the United States in 2021, and 440 men will die from it.
Your doctor may perform these tests to diagnose testicular cancer:
Ultrasound provides pictures of testicles and scrotum using sound waves to help your doctor check whether there is a lump inside or outside the testicle.
High levels of tumor markers (proteins) in your blood, such as alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) and human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), indicate that there is a testicular tumor. Also, a rise in AFP or HCG levels helps your doctor determine the type of testicular cancer.
An imaging test provides clear pictures using magnetic fields, X-rays, sounds waves, or radioactive substances to determine:
This test is ordered if your doctor suspects your cancer might have spread to bones or other test results are not clear.
If any lump on your testicle is suspected to be cancerous, your doctor may perform surgery to remove your testicle. Your removed testicle will be examined to verify if it is cancerous and its type of cancer present.
It helps to determine the cancer stage by showing whether it has spread to other parts of the body like the liver, lungs, and lymph nodes.
It helps to detect small collections of cancer cells in the body and if lymph nodes that are enlarged after chemotherapy contain cancer or scar tissue.
It is performed to see if cancer has spread to your lungs.
It is performed only if your doctor suspects your cancer might have spread to your brain and spinal cord.
After the testicular cancer is diagnosed, pelvic and abdominal CT scans are conducted to check if cancer has spread anywhere else and to determine its stage. Testicular cancer has the following stages:
Your doctor will recommend your treatment options depending on your overall health, preferences, and your cancer stage and type.
Surgery to remove your testicle and adjacent or nearby lymph nodes is often recommended for almost all stages of cancer.
Radiation therapy utilizes high-energy x-ray beams to destroy cancer cells. It is recommended to treat seminoma-type testicular cancer after surgery or if cancer has spread to distant organs like the brain. Additionally, if the cancer cells have spread to lymph nodes, radiation is often used to eliminate these cells.
Chemotherapy uses intravenous or oral medicines to destroy cancer cells. It is often recommended before or after lymph node removal surgery or if cancer has spread beyond the testicle.
High-dose chemotherapy can damage bone marrow which is where new blood cells form. However, a stem cell transplant enables doctors to use increases doses of chemotherapy. A few weeks before treatment, blood-forming stem cells from the patient's bloodstream are taken, frozen, and then stored.
Patients are then given high-dose chemotherapy and will later get back their stem cells. Once these cells settle in the bone marrow, they start making new blood cells in a few weeks. A stem cell transplant is recommended to treat testicular cancers that reoccur after chemotherapy treatment.
Contact Chesapeake Oncology-Hematology Associates today if you have any questions regarding testicular cancer treatment or recovery.
Testicular cancer has a 95% 5-year survival rate. However, speak with your provider about your survival outlook as each patient's case is different.
Testicular cancer is one of the most treatable cancers with high survival rates. Early diagnosis and treatment help cure the condition, helping you live a normal life.
Yes! When testicular cancer begins in one or both testes, you may not see any signs or symptoms. Symptoms may only begin to appear as cancer continues to spread.
Visit an oncologist if you have pain, swelling, or lumps in your groin or testicle for more than 2 weeks.
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