What is the Testicle?
The testicles (also called rats) are part of the male reproductive system. These two organs are located in a skin pouch called the scrotum, slightly smaller than the golf ball in adult men. The scrotum hangs on both sides of the penis.
The testicles produce the male hormone testosterone and sperm. Sperm cells carry the fluid produced by the prostate gland to the semen through the sperm canal. During ejaculation, sperm cells, sperm sac fluid, and prostatic fluid enter the urinary tract. Both urine and sperm are excreted through the canal located in the center of the penis.
The testicles consist of several different cells. Each can develop different types of cancer. It is important to differentiate these cancer types from each other because of the course of cancer and the way of treatment.
What are the signs and symptoms of testicular cancer?
- One mass or swelling in both testicles
- A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum (testicle bag)
- Mild pain in the abdomen or groin
- Sudden fluid collection in the scrotum
- Pain or discomfort in a testicle or scrotum
- Swelling or tenderness of the breasts
- Back pain.
What are the risk factors for testicular cancer?
- Undescended testicle (cryptorchidism ). The testicles form in the abdomen during development in the fetal state and usually descend into the scrotum before birth. Men with an undescended testicle are at higher risk of testicular cancer than men who normally descend. Although the testicle is surgically placed in the scrotum, the risk is high.
However, the majority of men with testicular cancer do not have an undescended testicle history.
- Abnormal testicle development. Conditions that cause abnormal development of testicles, such as Klinefelter syndrome, may increase your risk of testicular cancer
- Family history. If family members get testicular cancer, you're at higher risk.
- Age. It affects adolescents and young men, especially those aged 15 to 35. However, it can occur at any age.
- It is more common in white race members than black people.
How is testicular cancer diagnosed?
In some cases, men discover involuntarily the tumor with the testicle themselves while men involuntarily or manually examine it. In other cases, your doctor may detect a mass during a routine physical exam.
To determine if a mass is a cancer, your doctor may recommend the following:
- The testicle ultrasound test creates an image of the scrotum and testicles using sound waves. During the ultrasound, you lie on your back and open your legs. Your doctor will then apply a clear gel to your scrotum. A hand-held probe is moved over your scrotum to get an ultrasound image.
An ultrasound test can help your doctor determine the nature of testicular masses by providing information such as whether the masses are solid or liquid-filled. Ultrasound also shows your doctor whether the masses are inside or outside the testicle.
- Blood tests. Your doctor may order tests to determine the levels of tumor markers in your blood. Tumor markers are substances that are found under normal conditions in the blood, but in some cases, including testicular cancer, their levels may increase. Having a high tumor marker in your blood doesn't mean you have cancer, but it can help your doctor determine your diagnosis.
- Surgery of the testicle removal (radical inguinal orchiectomy) If it is determined that the mass in your testicle may be cancerous, surgical intervention may be recommended to remove the testicle. Your testicle will be analyzed to determine if the lump is cancerous, and if so, what type of cancer it is.
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