Testicular cancer is a condition that occurs when cells in the testes grow uncontrollably. Testicular cancer is a fairly rare type of cancer. This condition is most common in men aged 15-49 years. The testes are oval male sex organs in the scrotum or pubic pouch. Testes have an important role in the male reproductive system, which produces testosterone and sperm hormones. Both of these hormones have a vital role in the development and sexual function of a man.
Based on the cell type, testicular cancer is divided into several types, namely:
- Testicular cancer of germ cells ( g erm c ell) . This is the most common type of testicular cancer About 95 percent of all testicular cancer cases fall into this category. Germplasm is the type of cell the body uses to form sperm. Testicular cancer of this type is divided into two, namely seminoma and nonseminoma. Seminoma cancer grows more slowly than nonseminoma cancer.
- Lymphoma. About 4 percent of testicular cancer cases are recorded into this type.
- Leydig cell tumor. Approximately 1-3 percent of cases of testicular cancer are recorded into this type.
- Sertoli cell tumor. This is the most rare type of testicular cancer, which is only 1 percent.
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Symptoms of Testicular Cancer
The appearance of testicular cancer can be identified from the following symptoms:
- A lump or swelling in one of the testicles. This is the most common symptom. Lumps and swelling are often accompanied by pain.
- Sharp pain and achiness in the testes and scrotum. The scrotum also feels heavy. These feelings can come and go.
- There is fluid accumulation in the scrotum and the patient will feel tired when the cancer cells grow in the testicles.
If not treated immediately, testicular cancer can spread to other parts of the body (metastatic). If this condition occurs, then other symptoms will also appear. Usually, testicular cancer will spread to the lymph nodes, then it can spread to the abdomen or stomach, and lungs. This cancer can also spread to liver, bone, and brain organ, although rarely occurs.
Symptoms of cancer that has metastasized, among others are:
- Long lasting cough accompanied by blood.
- Male swelling or enlargement.
- Shortness of breath and lower back pain.
- Lump or swelling of the neck.
- Hard to breathe.
Causes of Testicular Cancer
The main trigger of testicular cancer is not known for certain to date. But clearly, testicular cancer occurs when cells in the testis grow abnormally and uncontrollably.
Although the trigger is not known for certain, there are several factors that allegedly can increase a person's risk for testicular cancer, including:
- The testes do not go down (cryptorchidism). The testes are formed in the abdomen and usually descend into the scrotum after the baby boy is born or in the first year of life. In the case of anomalies, the testes do not fall. The medical term for this condition is an undescended testicle or cryptorchidism.
- Never have testicular cancer. Men who have had testicular cancer are advised to perform follow-up after treatment. They have a risk of developing testicular cancer with a 12-fold greater likelihood than normal people, in other testes.
- Family health history. If there are family members, such as the father and sibling who suffer from testicular cancer, then the chances of someone experiencing this condition will also increase.
- Age. Testicular cancer is more common at the age of 15-49 years. Most cases occur in men aged 30-34 years. Even so, do not rule out this cancer occurs at other ages.
- Height. The higher the body of a man, his chances of developing testicular cancer are also getting bigger. The relationship between height and risk of cancer is motivated by the factors of food consumed. High-bodied children may eat more high-calorie foods during growth. It has the potential to increase the risk of testicular cancer.
- Abnormal testicular growth. Certain conditions, such as Klinefelter's syndrome , can cause the testes not to develop normally. This increases the risk of testicular cancer.
- HIV and AIDS. Diseases that attack the immune system also causes sufferers susceptible to testicular cancer.
- Smoke. People who smoke actively for long periods are at risk for testicular cancer.
- Race. Testicular cancer is more common in white men than blacks.
Diagnosis of Testicular Cancer
The doctor will diagnose testicular cancer through several stages, including:
- Physical examination. The doctor will inquire about the patient's symptoms and medical history, and examine testicular conditions with direct observation.
- Scrotum ultrasound . This method of examination uses sound waves with high frequency to produce anatomical images This is the main way to determine whether the lump is cancerous malignant or benign.
- Blood test. This test can be done to confirm the diagnosis of testicular cancer because there are certain hormones in the blood that can be "markers". If there is testicular cancer, the patient will produce a tumor marker ( tumor marker ) of this and can be known by a blood test. These markers include AFP ( alpha feta protein ), HCG ( human chorionic gonadotrophin ), and LDH ( lactate dehydrogenate ).
- Biopsy. This examination method is done by taking samples of cells from tumors to be investigated in the laboratory. In most cases, a biopsy is performed by lifting the entire cancerous testicle, to avoid injury and spread of cancer cells. Appointment of the testis is known by the name of orchidectomy, and will be done if the lump has been confirmed to be cancerous from another examination.
- Other tests. Several other types of tests may be needed to check for the spread of cancer that has already occurred. Among these are X-rays, MRIs , and CT scans.
- T determines the size of the tumor.
- N determines whether the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes and to
- M determines whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
- Stage 1. Cancer is present only in the testes.
- Stage 2. Cancer has spread to the lymph nodes of the abdomen and pelvis.
- Stage 3. The cancer spreads to the upper lymph nodes of the upper chest.
- Stage 4. Cancer has spread to other organs, such as the lungs.
Testicular Cancer Treatment
Treatment of testicular cancer depends on the type, as well as the severity or stage of cancer experienced by the patient. The first method of treatment that is generally applied is surgical removal of testicular cancer or known as orchidectomy.
After surgical removal of the testes, patients may be advised to take chemotherapy to kill off any cancer cells that may be left. In certain cases, doctors also advise patients to do radiotherapy if necessary. Further surgery will be necessary if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or to other organs.
The following are the treatment steps on testicular cancer:
- Orkidectomy. This is the overall surgical procedure for removal of the testes to prevent the spread of cancer. This procedure will not interfere with the sexual life or ability of a person to have a child, if only one testicle is affected by cancer. If both testes have to be removed, the patient can keep the sperm in order to keep the offspring later on.
- Testosterone replacement therapy. The lifting of both testicles can stop the production of testosterone. As a result, sexual arousal or libido decreases and causes a person difficulty maintaining or achieving an erection. To overcome this, patients will be given hormone replacement therapy ( hormone replacement therapy ) in the form of synthetic hormone testosterone . This hormone therapy can cause side effects such as oily skin, acne, swelling of the chest (breast), or impaired urination patterns.
- Operation of lymph nodes. Testicular cancer that has entered an advanced stage and has spread to surrounding lymph nodes should be treated through this procedure.
- Radiotherapy. This procedure is used to destroy cancer cells by using high-energy radiation rays. This technique is also effective for treating testicular seminoma cancer and preventing it from reappearing. Side effects of this treatment include nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, reddened skin, and pain as a result of sunburn.
- Chemotherapy. This procedure uses anticancer drugs to kill cells that are malignant in the body in order not to develop or reappear. However, this treatment technique can also attack healthy and normal cells of the human body. Men who are undergoing chemotherapy are not advised to impregnate their wives, because chemotherapy drugs can damage sperm and increase the risk of having a child with birth defects.
- Periodic checks. People who recover from cancer should remain vigilant because the cancer is potentially coming again. Usually, the cancer reappears within the first two years after treatment is completed. Patients are advised to have regular tests and tests to keep the cancer from reappearing. The tests and checks are physical examinations, blood tests, X-rays, and CT scans.