Testicular Cancer - Treatments, Symptoms, Causes

Testicular Cancer - Treatments, Symptoms, Causes

What is Testicle?

The testicles (also called the testicles) are part of the male reproductive system. These two organs are contained within a leathery sac called the scrotum, slightly smaller than a golf ball in adult males. The scrotum hangs on either side of the penis.

The testicles produce the male hormone testosterone and sperm. Sperm cells carry the fluid produced by the prostate gland to the seminal vesicle through the sperm duct. During ejaculation, sperm cells, sperm sac fluid and prostatic fluid enter the urinary tract. Both urine and sperm are expelled through the duct located in the center of the penis.

What is Testicular Cancer?

Testicular cancer usually develops in one or both testicles in young men. It is a type of cancer that needs to be treated by competent physicians and can often be cured when treated with the right strategies.

Risk factors of testicular cancer - what are the causes?

Although testicular cancer is rare, it is one of the most common types of cancer in men aged 15-35 years. Testicular cancer constitutes 1% to 1.5% of male cancers and 5% of urological tumors. While the less common testicular tumors are non-seminomatous (15%), the most common testicular tumor after the age of 50 is lymphoma, and approximately 35% of lymphoma patients have testicular involvement. While 3-10 testicular cancer cases are detected in 100,000 men per year, there has been an increase in the rate of testicular cancer in the last 25-30 years. However, since the success of the treatment is high, the risk of loss of life in testicular cancer is very low, such as 1 in 5,000.

Risk factor; It can be expressed as any factor that affects the chance of catching a disease such as cancer. Different types of cancer have different risk factors. Some risk factors, such as smoking, can be modified. Some factors, such as the person's age or family history, cannot be changed. However, risk factors don't tell us everything. Having risk factors or having many risk factors does not mean you will get the disease. Many people with cancer have few risk factors.

What are the symptoms of testicular cancer?

In most cases of testicular cancer, a mass or swelling or enlargement occurs in the testis. Sometimes this mass causes pain, but most of the time it is not painful. A patient with testicular cancer may feel heaviness or complain of pain in the lower abdomen or scrotum.

In rare cases, breast enlargement or tenderness is observed in men with germ cell cancer. These symptoms occur when germ cell tumors increase the level of human chorionic gonadotropin hormone, which provides breast development. Blood tests can measure the level of human chorionic gonadotropin. These tests are important for the diagnosis and stage of the cancer and for the investigation of some testicular cancers.

As in germ cell tumors, Leydig and Sertoli cell tumors can cause a testicular mass. Leydig cell tumors can produce androgens (male hormone) or estrogen (female hormone). These hormones can cause symptoms that provide clues that confirm the diagnosis. Breast enlargement or sexual reluctance are symptoms of estrogen-producing tumors. Androgen-producing tumors may not show any obvious symptoms in men. However, it can cause abnormal facial and body hair growth in boys.

Treatment methods in testicular cancer

In recent years, considerable progress has been made in the treatment of testicular cancer. The surgical methods used were reviewed and more information was gained about the best chemotherapy and radiotherapy methods to treat different types of testicular cancer.

After the cancer is diagnosed and staged, the doctor discusses treatment options with the patient. All the options presented should be reviewed without haste. The type of cancer, its stage, and the patient's general health are factors that are taken into account when determining the treatment plan. If time permits, a second treatment option may be a good idea. The second option, which gives more information, makes the patient feel good about the treatment plan chosen.

Where you are treated is important. Since experience is important, it is recommended to prefer hospitals that mostly treat testicular cancer.

The main treatment methods used in testicular cancer are:

  • Surgical intervention
  • Radiotherapy
  • Chemotherapy (chemo)
  • It is a combined treatment according to the type and stage of the tumor.

Treatment plan

Radiotherapy is a preferred treatment for early-stage seminoma tumors. However, in studies conducted in recent years, a similar level of success has been achieved with single-dose chemotherapy (carboplatin) and radiotherapy, and even it has become preferred due to some advantages. Radiation therapy usually lasts no more than a few minutes, the patient does not feel any discomfort.