The most common form of cancer in men ages 15 to 35, nearly 10,000 new cases of testicular cancer are diagnosed annually in the United States.
Testicular cancer grows in the tissues of one or both testes -- glands that are located in the scrotum. Most cases of testicular cancer start out in the sperm-making cells known as germ cells. Testicular cancer can be classified into seminoma and nonseminoma. Although aggressive, both cancer types are curable even when metastatic.
Who Develops Testicular Cancer?
Any man can develop testicular cancer, but your risk of testicular cancer may be increased if you:
- Have a history of undescended testicles
- Have a family history of testicular cancer
- Have HIV/AIDS
The symptoms of testicular cancer include a lump or swelling in the testicle or testicular enlargement. Often there are no symptoms associated with testicular cancer and it typically may present as a painless lump in the testes.
I encourage all men to familiarize themselves with their bodies and what is normal for them by performing testicular self-exams once a month. I also recommend performing these simple exams -- which only take a couple of minutes -- in the shower or right after the shower.
If you notice any lumps, bumps and/or changes in size, consistency or shape of the testicle, you should contact your physician right away.
How is Testicular Cancer Diagnosed?
Lumps or masses may be found during a physical examination. Scrotal ultrasound can often diagnose testicular cancer. Other imaging tests, such as computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans and blood tests are utilized.
Valley-Mount Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Care provides state-of-the-art, comprehensive cancer care in northern New Jersey. To make an appointment at The Valley Hospital Urologic Oncology Center, please call 201-634-5567.
Dr. Howard Frey is the Medical Director for The Valley Hospital Urologic Oncology Center