The rate of testicular cancer has been rising among men in the United States. Since April is National Testicular Cancer Awareness Month, there is no better time than now to learn more about testicular cancer and how it relates to you. This article will explain symptoms, so you can detect it early if it were to affect you.
Risk Factors While the exact cause of testicular cancer is not known, there are factors that have been proven to increase a man’s risk for developing testicular cancer. These factors include:
- Personal or family history of testicular cancer
- History of undescended testicle
- HIV infection
- Abnormal testicle development
- Klinefelter syndrome (this is the presence of at least one extra X chromosome in a male)
Men between the ages of 15 and 35 are at the greatest risk of developing testicular cancer, and Caucasian men are more likely to develop it than African-American or Asian-American men.
Symptoms Unfortunately, some cases of testicular cancer will yield no symptoms whatsoever. However, the following are symptoms that can occur with testicular cancer and should not be ignored if you experience them.
- A lump or swelling in either testicle
- Enlargement of a testicle
- Discomfort or pain in the testicle
- A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
- Excessive development of breast tissue (not related to adolescence)
- Pain in the back or lower abdomen
Although the rate of testicular cancer is rising, the chances that a man will get it in his lifetime are still relatively low, at about 1 in 270. If testicular cancer were to develop, treatment of this cancer is so successful that the chances it would end in death are as low as 1 in 5,000.
Treatment The treatment of testicular cancer can involve surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. In early stages, surgery alone may be curative. In later stages, chemotherapy usually is used. It is important to understand though that it is highly curable in all stages so detection is key to treatment.
SupportIf you develop testicular cancer, there are support groups to help you during your treatment. Many branches of the American Cancer Society have local support groups, specifically for men with testicular cancer. Check with your local branch or ask a Southeastern Medical Oncology Center professional to find out if there is one near you.