Tickling Cancer, one of our most active WhatNexters, and a Stage III Testicular Cancer Survivor, has a few tips for those males who have never checked or thought about having Testicular Cancer. It's a cancer that doesn't get detected until it has progressed past Stage I far too often, simply because guys just don't check.
According to the American Cancer Society, the chance of a male developing testicular cancer is 1 in 270. More than 8,500 Men will be diagnosed with testicular cancer this year. It's important to know what to check for so that this cancer is caught in it's early stages. Testicular Cancer in very treatable and highly curable.
Testicular Cancer can develop in one testicle, both testicles or it may not develop in the testicles at all (more about that later). There are two types of testicular cancer. Seminoma and Non-Seminoma. In it's early stages, you may not experience many symptoms. In the early stages, you may experience a heaviness in the scrotum, a dull pain in the back, lower abdomen or groin area. Through self examination, you may find some swelling or even a small lump in one or both testicles. Any abnormalities found on self examination should be reported to a Doctor. In advanced stages symptoms may include the symptoms above as well as, lack of energy, sweating for no reason, shortness of breath, coughing or chest pain. If a cancerous tumor is found in the testis, surgery is done to remove the testicle or testicles. This is called Orchiectomy.
How do you examine your testicles? The American Cancer Society is a great source for this very topic.
How can you have testicular cancer outside of the testicles? These types of tumors are referred to as extragonadal germ cell tumors. This is a very rare type of testicular cancer. The most common place to develop these tumors is in the back of the abdomen and in the chest. EGGCT are typically found during examination of other medical issues. Symptoms can vary with the location of the tumors. In the chest, you may experience difficulty breathing, chest pain, cough or even a fever. If in the back of the abdomen, you may experience back pain or kidney problems. Kidney problems are usually due to the tumor pressing on the tubes that transport urine from the kidney to the bladder.
Treatment really depends on the size and location of the tumors. Both radiation and chemo are used to treat this type of cancer.
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with testicular cancer, there are a few things should ask your Oncologist.
1. What type of testicular cancer do I have?
2. What are my treatment options?
3. What is my prognosis?
These are 3 very important questions. Make sure you have answers before you begin your treatment. You should have a complete understanding of what the Doctor will do to treat your cancer. If you aren't comfortable with the information you're receiving, you should seek a second opinion.
It's highly recommend that if you plan to have children, you contact a sperm bank for semen cyropreservation. The chemo and some radiation can cause fertility problems.
Radiation to the tumor locations have proven to be very successful in treating testicular cancer. In addition to radiation, chemo may be given. Depending on the type of cancer, tumor locations and staging, chemo alone may be used. The most common types of chemo used to treat testicular cancer is Etoposide, Cisplatin and Bleomycin.
Additional information can be found through The American Cancer Society.
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