What is Testicular Cancer?

By  , Expert Content
Dec 16, 2011

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Testicular cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the testicle. It can affect one or both the testicles. The testicles (also called testes or gonads) are present under the penis in a sac-like pouch called the scrotum. There is usually one testis on each side in the scrotum. Testicles are part of the male reproductive system that produce and store sperms and secrete the male hormones, testosterone.

Several types of cancer can develop in the testis. The testicular cancers are categorized based on the type of the cells in the tumour. Seminomas or nonseminomas are the common types of cancer that affect the testis. Other types of cancer that develop in the testicles are rare.

Seminomas: It is a slow-growing testicular cancer, which usually affects young men (men in their 30s and 40s). In most cases, the cancer is limited to the testes, but it has the potential to spread to the lymph nodes. The cancer is responsive to radiation therapy. The seminomas are categorized into:

  • Classic.
  • Anaplastic.
  • Spermatocytic.

Nonseminomas: This testicular cancer is more common than other types of testicular cancer. It grows more rapidly as compared with seminomas. The nonseminomas are categorized into different types based on the different cell types. The categories are:

  • Choriocarcinoma (rare).
  • Embryonal carcinoma.
  • Teratoma.
  • Yolk sac tumour.

Some testicular tumours are noted to have both seminoma and nonseminoma cells. Testicular cancer most often occurs in young men (ages of 20 and 39). It is the most common type of cancer that affects young men (between the ages of 15 and 34). The cancer is more common in white men, especially those of the Scandinavian descent as compared with men of other race. Studies have observed an increase in the rate of testicular cancer, especially among white men in the past few decades.

There are many treatment options for testicular cancer. The standard treatment options include:

  • Surgery.
  • Radiation therapy.
  • Chemotherapy.

Testicular cancer is one of the most treatable and curable cancers in men. Studies have shown that the survival rate for men with early-stage seminoma (the least aggressive type of testicular cancer) is as high as 95%. Stage of the disease is an important factor, which determines the survival rate. Disease-free survival rate for Stage II and III cancers is slightly lower as compared with stage I cancer. The doctor will discuss with you and choose the treatment option based on the type and stage of cancer.



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