Testicular Cancer occurs when cells in one or both of the testicles become cancerous.
The cause of Testicular Cancer is unknown. Risk factors for developing Testicular Cancer include:
• Undescended testicle. Men who had testicles that didn't descend into the scrotum by age 3 are at a greater risk of developing Testicular Cancer.
• Abnormal testicular development. Men whose testicles did not develop normally are also at increased risk.
• Klinefelter's syndrome. Men with this sex chromosome disorder are at greater risk.
• History of Testicular Cancer. Men who have had Testicular Cancer are at increased risk of developing it in the other testicle.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
• A painless lump or swelling in either testicle.
• Enlargement of a testicle or a change in the way it feels.
• A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum (the sac-like pouch under the penis that contain the testicles).
• A dull ache in the lower abdomen or groin.
• A sudden collection of fluid in the scrotum.
• Pain or discomfort in a testicle or in the scrotum.
Diagnosis of Testicular Cancer may include a physical examination, ultrasound scan, removal of a sample of tissue from the area (a biopsy) and blood tests.
Treatment of Testicular Cancer involves surgical removal of the cancerous testicle. Removal of the lymph nodes in the abdomen, radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy may also be used.
TESTICULAR SELF EXAMINATION
Most Testicular Cancer occurs in men under age 40. It is therefore important for men to examine their testicles once a month from puberty.
Self-examination of the testicles is best performed when the scrotum is relaxed, after or during a warm bath or shower. This will also allow the testicles to drop down. The left testicle usually hangs a bit lower than the right. It is common for one testicle to be larger than the other.
• Examine each testicle gently with one hand, while supporting it with the other hand.
• Gently roll each testicle between the thumb and fingers. Testicles should feel firm and smooth (like a hard-boiled egg without the shell).
• You should be able to feel the epididymis - a cord-like structure on the back of the testicle. It is not an abnormal lump.
• Feel for any firm lumps, masses or nodules in the testicle. Remember that cancerous lumps are often painless.
• Get to know the normal size, shape and weight of each testicle and epididymis so you will be aware if changes occur.
If you do find a lump, you should contact your Doctor immediately so that the lump can be investigated.
Your Doctor should also examine your testicles when you have a physical exam. Ask your Doctor to teach you the correct way to do a testicular self-examination.
The European Prospective Investigation of Cancer (EPIC) is a long-term, large-scale study of the influence of diet on cancer in humans. The EPIC results recommend that people lose weight if overweight or obese and have a diet that is:
• High in fruits and vegetables.
• High in fibre.
• Low in red or processed meats.
• Low in saturated fat.
Evidence suggests that natural substances found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage may lower overall cancer risk. Other cruciferous vegetables include rocket, watercress, garden cress, kale, bok choy, radish, horseradish and wasabi.