Cancer Overview of Cancer Cancer is the out-of-control growth of cells in your body. Cells are the tiny building blocks of your body. Cells specialize in what they do. For example, your intestines have muscle cells to... read more is the out-of-control growth of cells in your body. Cells are the tiny building blocks of your body. Cells specialize in what they do. Different organs are made of different kinds of cells. Almost any kind of cell can become cancerous.
What is testicular cancer?
The testicles are the pair of organs where sperm is made. They are inside the scrotum, the sac of skin that hangs down behind a man’s penis. Testicular cancer Overview of Cancer Cancer is the out-of-control growth of cells in your body. Cells are the tiny building blocks of your body. Cells specialize in what they do. For example, your intestines have muscle cells to... read more is the out-of-control growth of cells of the testicle.
Testicular cancer is most common among men under age 40
You usually have a painless lump in your testicle, or your testicle gets larger
Doctors recommend that young men check their own testicles for lumps once a month
Doctors do surgery to remove the testicle that has cancer and may give you radiation or chemotherapy
With treatment testicular cancer is usually curable
Having a testicle removed won't harm your sex drive, erections, or ability to have children
What causes testicular cancer?
Doctors don't know what causes testicular cancer. But it's more common if one or both testicles didn't descend into the scrotum normally (undescended testicles Undescended Testes and Retractile Testes Undescended testes (cryptorchidism) are testes that remain in the abdomen or the groin instead of descending into the scrotum. Retractile testes (hypermobile testes) have descended into the... read more ).
What are the symptoms of testicular cancer?
The most common symptom is:
A firm, painless lump in a testicle
Less often, you might have symptoms such as:
Dull, aching pain in a testicle
Rarely, sudden, severe pain in a testicle
How do doctors tell if I have testicular cancer?
Doctors suspect testicular cancer in young men who have a lump in the testicle. Doctors then do:
Ultrasound Ultrasonography Ultrasonography is a safe imaging test that uses sound waves to create a moving picture of the insides of your body. Ultrasonography doesn't use radiation (x-rays). Ultrasonography is also called... read more to see if a lump is cancer or a harmless fluid-filled growth
Sometimes, surgery to see if it's cancer
If you have cancer, they'll do:
Chest x-ray Plain X-Rays A plain x-ray is an imaging test that takes a picture of the inside of your body. It uses a low dose of x-ray radiation. X-rays show body parts according to how dense (solid) they are. Doctors... read more and CT scan Computed Tomography A CT scan uses a large machine shaped like a large donut to take x-rays from many angles. A computer then takes the x-rays and creates many detailed pictures of the inside of your body. Each... read more to see if cancer has spread
How do doctors treat testicular cancer?
Treatment often cures men with testicular cancer. Doctors will usually:
Do surgery to remove the testicle that has cancer— if you want, they can replace it with an artificial testicle
Other treatments depend on the specific type of cancer, how aggressive it is, and how far it's spread. Treatments may include:
Removing lymph nodes in your abdomen (belly area) because testicular cancer often spreads there first
Doing radiation therapy Radiation Therapy Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses beams of radiation to destroy cancer cells and shrink cancer tumors. Doctors use radiation to treat many types of cancer, including head, neck... read more if your testicular cancer is a type called a seminoma
Men who are going to get radiation or chemotherapy may store their sperm before treatment, because these treatments may cause fertility problems. If you have surgery to remove a cancerous testicle, the remaining one should function normally so you can have children.