Especially if you are young, testicular cancer is often seen in younger men, ages 15 to 40 and more common in Caucasian men. The good news is that it is often very curable.
Urologist Kristofer R. Wagner, MD, specializes in conditions related to the urinary tract system and reproductive organs. He treats men with testicular cancer and strives to addresses your unique concerns.
What is Testicular Cancer?
If you’re wondering about testicular cancer, it is helpful to understand the role of the testes. The testes are small oval-shaped glands about two inches in length within the scrotum of a man.
They serve two functions:
- They produce male hormone called testosterone which is secreted into the bloodstream.
- They also produce sperm which originate from germ cells and are released with semen fluid during ejaculation.
“Most testicular cancers are germ cells that have become cancerous,” explains Dr. Wagner. “Because germ cells divide and multiply rapidly, testicular cancers can often grow quickly.”
Fortunately, this also means that testicular cancer is often very curable.
How Do I Know If I Have Testicular Cancer?
If you’ve developed a mass, lump, or new pain in the testicle you should see a doctor promptly. There are many specialists at Scott & White able to answer your questions and help you feel comfortable.
“While pain is not usually present, some patients with cancer are initially diagnosed with an infection called epididymitis,” says Dr. Wagner.
To make the right diagnosis, your doctor will perform a physical exam and ultrasound of the scrotum to rule out cancer if you have a scrotal mass or pain. If a mass is present and cancer is suspected, prompt removal of the abnormal testicle is recommended.
“Some men may believe that surgery will cause the cancer to spread,” says Dr. Wagner. “This is actually the opposite. Surgery is usually done in hopes that the primary tumor will be removed before it spreads.”
Some men may need additional treatment in the form of radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or additional abdominal surgery to remove lymph nodes.
What Do I Need to Know about Testicular Cancer?
Dr. Wagner says testicular cancer is relatively uncommon.
If you perform monthly self-exams it will usually lead to diagnosis at an early stage when all you need is testis removal in order to be cured.
Patients at increased risk include:
- Men who were born with an undescended testicle.
- Men who have Klinefelter’s Syndrome.
- Men who have a family history of testicular cancer.
“Testicular cancer remains one of the most curable forms of cancer, and the five-year survival rate is over 95 percent,” says Dr. Wagner.
Also, keep in mind that treatment for testicular cancer will not ruin your sex life.
“Removal of a cancerous testicle does not affect a man’s sexual function if the other testicle is normal,” says Dr. Wagner.