Testicular Cancer Awareness Month presents an opportunity to remind men to stay vigilant to ensure better health outcomes.
While one of the less common cancers that Comprehensive Cancer Centers sees for men, it does still happen. And as it happens, it’s important to note events like Testicular Cancer Awareness Month, which encourage men to learn more about this disease, while getting earlier diagnoses.
Testicular cancer forms in the testicles and almost all testicular cancers start in the germ cells. The two main types of testicular germ cell tumors are seminomas and nonseminomas. Nonseminomas tend to grow rapidly and spread more quickly than seminomas, which are more sensitive to radiation.
Testicular cancer most often develops in young to middle-aged men. While other cancers may happen in great numbers overall, testicular cancer is the most common form of cancer in 20 to 35-year-old men. The cancer is a highly treatable and often curable form of cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
Despite its relative ease of diagnosis, through men’s ability to self-screen for the disease, the NCI’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program estimates that in 2020, 9,610 men in the United States were diagnosed with testicular cancer. Unfortunately, nearly 500 men still died of testicular cancer during that year, from a disease with a success rate of more than 95 percent of those diagnosed surviving five years after initial diagnosis.
What Are Risk Factors for Testicular Cancer?
The risk factors for testicular cancer, or any other cancer, differs person-to-person. This includes environmental factors, personal history and family health history. With testicular cancer; however, there are some commonalities which should be accounted for with men who may be at greater risk:
- Age – While it can affect anyone at any age, testicular cancer largely is found in men between 20 to 34 years old.
- Cryptorchidism – For those with undescended testicle, risks are higher. If this is the case, a doctor can reduce risks through surgery which corrects cryptorchidism in an infant or child before puberty.
- Family History – A man’s cancer risk is increased if one of his close family members, like a brother or father, was diagnosed with testicular cancer.
- Previous Testicular Cancer Occurrence – Two to five percent of men who have had cancer in one testicle previously are likely to develop cancer in the other testicle.
- Race – White men are more likely to develop testicular cancer than men of other races.
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) – Men who are HIV-positive are at a higher risk of developing this type of cancer than men who are not.
What Can Men Do to Stay Ahead of Testicular Cancer?
While fatality numbers are low, Comprehensive finds it challenging that a disease with such successful treatment data, still results in deaths. The good news is that, when informed, men can find this cancer early and be part of the 95 percent of those diagnoses still doing well five years later. This can be done by keeping an eye on the following potential symptoms:
- Swelling – A tumor could be the size of pea or marble and can sometimes be bigger. It may be discoverable when swelling occurs.
- Pain – When you feel discomfort in the testicle(s) or scrotum, it can be easy to dismiss it as a result of working out, or maybe sitting wrong or hitting something. But, be sure to be mindful of pain in your testicles that persists. This also holds true for pain in the abdomen or groin. Don’t ignore or opt to tough it out through pain.
- Changes – If one testicle becomes heavier or firmer than the other that could be a sign something is wrong.
- Fluid – If you feel a buildup of fluid in scrotum, be sure to get it checked out.
Be sure to Look for these warning signs and learn what is normal for your body. Communicate with a doctor immediately if you are experiencing any of these symptoms or if anything else out of the ordinary occurs.
Comprehensive Cancer Centers Can Help
Physicians at Comprehensive Cancer Centers provide a variety of treatment options for cancer, serious blood disorders, breast health conditions, pulmonary and sleep disease. To schedule an appointment with the team at Comprehensive, please call 702-952-3350
The content is this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.