Testicular cancer

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Testicular cancer is cancer in one or both testicles, a part of the male reproductive system. In the United States, about 8,000 to 9,000 people are diagnosed with the cancer every year. Every male has a 1 in 250 (four tenths of one percent, or 0.4%) chance of being diagnosed with it. It is most common among males aged 15-40 years. Testicular cancer has one of the highest cure rates of all cancers; more than 90%. This is most often achieved by removing one or both testicles. Even in the small number of cases where the cancer has spread widely, chemotherapy offers a cure rate of at least 50%.

Symptoms and early detection[change | change source]

Because testicular cancer is curable (stage I can have a success rate of >95%) when detected early, experts recommend regular monthly testicular self-examination after a hot shower or bath, when the scrotum is looser. Men are advised to feel each testicle, feeling for pea-shaped lumps. Symptoms of testicular cancer include one or more of the following:

  • a lump in one testis or a hardening of one of the testicles
  • pain and tenderness in the testicles
  • build-up of fluid in the scrotum
  • a dull ache in the lower abdomen or groin
  • a change in the size of a testicle
  • blood in semen

How bad the cancer is and whether it is present at all is often discovered through ultrasound of the testicles, x-rays, and/or CT scans. Blood tests are also used to identify and measure tumour markers that are only in a person's blood if they have testicular cancer. Biopsies should not be performed because it increases the risk of migrating cancer cells into the scrotum.