How To Improve Testicular Cancer Outcomes

April is Testicular Cancer Awareness Month, and Comprehensive Cancer Centers wants to encourage men to learn more about this cancer so you are aware of the symptoms. This can help lead to earlier diagnoses for the cancer.

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 over all, testicular cancer is the most common form of cancer in 20–35-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 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 with everyone. 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:

  • Your 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 Take Testicular Cancer More Seriously?

While fatality numbers are low, every life is precious and Comprehensive Cancer 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% 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, may discoverable when swelling occurs
  • Pain – When you fee 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 and 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 the warning signs and learn what is normal for your body. Communicate with a doctor immediately if you find any of these symptoms presenting, or if anything else out of the ordinary occurs.

Shea Theodore, Testicular Cancer Survivor

Shea Theodore, defenseman for the Vegas Golden Knights, is no stranger to cancer.

While playing for Team Canada at the Worlds during the summer of 2019, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Luckily for Shea, his cancer was caught early. As a professional athlete, he is often subject to random drug tests, one of which detected the presence of the hormone hCG. Typically, that hormone is only found in women during pregnancy, but in some cases, hCG can be a sign of testicular cancer. When Shea returned home, a blood test confirmed his diagnosis, and from there he needed surgery. At this time, Shea is doing well, but has developed a new-found passion for early detection and prevention.

Raising Awareness for Cancer

As a result of his personal cancer journey, Shea has partnered with Comprehensive Cancer Centers and is committed to raising awareness about cancer and to encouraging everyone to get regular check-ups with their physician. With our mission aligned, we hope to educate our community and be a resource for anyone who needs it.

Learn more at www.makethesmartplay.com

Comprehensive Cancer Centers Can Help

Physicians at Comprehensive Cancer Centers provide a variety of treatment options for patients with testicular cancer.  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.