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Category: Oncology | Reproductive Medicine | Andrology

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Testicular cancer overview

Updated: July 29, 2009

Testicular cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the testicles, a part of the male reproductive system.

Epidemiology of testicular cancer

1 in every 25,000 men will get testicular cancer and it is very common among males between the ages 15 through 40. However testicular cancer is known to have the highest cure rates of all solid malignancies. Cures can be achieved even after it has spread to other parts of the body.

Pathology of testicular cancer

Testicular cancers are generally classified into two tumor types, seminomas and nonseminomas. Seminomas are slow growing immature germ cells. Seminomas are generally localized in the testicles. Nonseminomas on the other hand are more aggressive and more mature germ cells that spread more rapidly.

Staging of testicular cancer

  • See staging system for testicular cancer

There are three basic stages of testicular cancer. The first stage is where the cancer remains localized in the testicle. In the second stage, the cancer begins to spread to lymph nodes. During the third stage, the cancer spreads to distant organs which include the kidneys, liver, bones, lungs or even the brain.

Symptoms and diagnosis of testicular cancer

These are some general symptoms: a lump in one testicle, pain and tenderness in testicles, blood in sperm during ejaculation, build up of fluid in the scrotum, enlargement of breasts, and an increase in the size of one testicle.

Treatment of testicular cancer

There are three basic types of treatment: surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Surgery in the form of an excisional biopsy is the is frequently the first step in the management of these patients. The affected testicle is removed and the lymph nodes may be also removed. Radiation therapy is effective only on seminomas. Chemotherapy is used when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

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