One of the primary men’s health issues that receives attention is prostate cancer. According to research, though, we also have a good reason to turn our attention to the testicles. It is estimated that more than 9,000 diagnoses of testicular cancer will be made this year alone. This condition can cause mortality. Conversely, treatment for this type of cancer also has a very high success rate when conducted early. Here, we provide insight into this men’s health issue so you can more easily spot the signs that you need to see a doctor for comprehensive screening.
Warning Signs of Testicular Cancer
- A palpable lump in the testicles (unilateral or bilateral).
- Dull, persistent groin or abdominal aching.
- Testicular or scrotum pain.
- Fluid accumulation in the scrotum.
- Breast enlargement or tenderness.
These are the earliest indicators of testicular cancer; the signs that you need to see your doctor for specific tests. At best, a screening will rule out the presence of disease. At worst, a thorough exam provides valuable insight that enables your urologist to develop an appropriate treatment protocol to keep cancer from spreading.
Several diagnostic modalities may be used to evaluate testicular cancer. Your urologist will order screenings such as:
- Blood tests. Lab work can measure tumor markers that indicate the presence of cancer in the body. The initial testing provides a baseline for future observation to evaluate the efficacy of treatment if testicular cancer is confirmed.
- Ultrasound imaging is often one of the first methods of screening for testicular cancer. This non-invasive screening displays images of the inside of the testicles using sound waves. Healthy tissue appears white on an ultrasound, whereas cancerous tissue will appear dark, demonstrating the presence and extent of cancer.
- CT scan. This test may be ordered after a diagnosis has been confirmed. CT scan imaging displays a cross-section of tissue that enables your urologist to grade the stage of cancer and identify any metastasis to other organs.
- MRI imaging may be ordered if there is a reason to suspect that cancer has spread to the spinal cord or brain.
The Importance of Early Intervention
Testicular cancer can metastasize to other organs. If this happens, symptoms will extend to the affected area. For example, chronic stomach pain may develop if cancer spreads to the liver or causes enlarged lymph nodes in the abdominal area. Interestingly, if the lymph nodes in the abdomen become enlarged, low back pain may be the warning sign. Testicular cancer may also spread to the lungs and the brain, causing symptoms such as shortness of breath and chronic headaches. The spread of cancer cells throughout the body does not mean treatment will be unsuccessful. It does, however, indicate that more aggressive treatment may be necessary.
What You Can Do Right Now to Protect Your Health
Routine testicular exams are the best method we have to detect testicular cancer early. Some doctors encourage men to perform a self-exam every month. During this brief exam, a man feels the testicles for lumps or other irregularities. The benefit of monthly exams is that a more accurate familiarity with what is normal. Therefore, any changes in appearance, feel, or physical sensation will be quickly noticed.
The prognosis for testicular cancer can be very good with early detection. Do you have questions about this condition? Call (972) 403-5425 to schedule a visit at Collin County Urology.This entry was posted in Prostate Cancer. Bookmark the permalink.
← Do Your Symptoms Point to Urinary Tract Infection or Interstitial Cystitis? Are You on the Fence about Penile Implant Treatment? →