Testicular cancer: A highly curable cancer
TESTICULAR cancer is not a common cancer, with about 700 men being diagnosed in Australia each year.
It is, however, the second most common form of cancer in men aged between 18-39 years.
The cancer starts as an abnormal growth in the testicle and often presents as a painless lump.
This type of cancer can spread throughout the body, however if diagnosed early it often is still localised within the testis and has a very high cure rate.
The causes of testicular cancer are mostly unknown however we know that certain conditions are risk factors for its development.
Undescended testes, which is found in 3-5 per 100 boys, is a major risk factor increasing the risk by a factor of 10 times in men with undescended testes.
Men with previous fertility problems and men with Down Syndrome are also at an increased risk of this cancer.
Men aged between 20-40 are at most risk of developing testicular cancer however it is also seen in older men.
Testicular self-examination is an easy process and is used to detect any lumps.
The scrotum is supported in the palm of the hand and each testis is gently rolled between the thumb and fingers, feeling for any areas of hardness, lumps or swellings. Each testis should feel firm and the surface should be smooth. Any change to how the testes feel normally is a trigger to see your GP straight away.
Testicular cancer is diagnosed with ultrasound scans and certain blood tests and if found, other scans of the body are performed to look for any cancer spread.
Treatment involves surgery and possibly radiotherapy and chemotherapy depending on the type and spread.
The message is that all men should become familiar with how their testicles feel and should regularly examine them for any changes.