Testicular Cancer

Testicular cancer is cancer that develops in the testicles, a part of the male reproductive system. It is the most common cancer in males aged 20–39 years, the period of peak incidence, and is rarely seen before the age of 15 years. Testicular cancer has one of the highest cure rates of all cancers, if it has not spread (metastasized). Even for the relatively few cases in which malignant cancer has spread widely, modern chemotherapy offers a cure rate of at least 80%. Not all lumps on the testicles are tumors, and not all tumors are malignant; there are many other conditions which may be painful but are non-cancerous. However, the main way testicular cancer is diagnosed is via a lump or mass inside the testis. More generally, if a young adult or adolescent has a single enlarged testicle, which may or may not be painful, this should give doctors reason to suspect testicular cancer.

Inguinal orchiectomy (the surgical removal of a testicle) is the preferred method because it lowers the risk of cancer cells escaping. This is because the lymphatic system of the scrotum, through which white blood cells (and, potentially, cancer cells) flow in and out, links to the lower extremities, while that of the testicle links to the back of the abdominal cavity (the retroperitoneum). A transscrotal biopsy or orchiectomy will potentially leave cancer cells in the scrotum and create two routes for cancer cells to spread, while in an inguinal orchiectomy only the retroperitoneal route exists.

Blood tests are also used to identify and measure tumor markers (usually proteins present in the bloodstream) that are specific to testicular cancer.

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