Testicular cancer is relatively common. It strikes 1 in about 20,000 men, usually between the ages of 20 and 54. There are, however, cases of infants and elderly men being diagnosed with this ailment. Its causes are still undetermined, but statistics show that genetics (family history and ethnicity) play a major hand in how much at risk a man is for this type of cancer. Here's the good news: testicular cancer is highly treatable and curable; though a man's lifetime risk of acquiring it is about 1 in 300, his chances of dying from it lowers to a steep 1 in 5,000. As with many other illnesses, early detection is key: the earlier testicular cancer is diagnosed, the better the chances of getting cured with an easy and speedy recovery time. That being said, what are the signs and symptoms of testicular cancer?
First of all, it is important that you learn how to perform Testicular Self-Examination (TSE). You may do it yourself, or have your partner do it for you. The best time to perform this is during or after a warm bath or shower, when the scrotum is most relaxed. Also, it's best to administer this on a monthly basis. To perform TSE, just roll testicle gently between the thumb and fingers of both hands. To be more specific, position your thumbs on top of the testicle, and your fingers under and behind it. While you are doing this, what should you be looking for?
Small, hard lumps. Usually, these kinds of lumps may be found at the front of the testicle. Also, be careful not to confuse the epididymis (a small, comma-like cord-like tube that stores and transports the sperm) for a lump. Anyway, it's always best to err on the side of caution. If you feel any such lump consult your doctor right away. Note though that lumps don't automatically point to cancer.
Change in the way the testicle feels. If you feel as if your testicle feels heavier or has a different consistency then have it checked right away.
Enlarged testicle. Observe if your testicle seems to be larger; if it does, then again it's best to have it checked as soon as possible.
Apart from performing the TSE, one other major symptom of testicular cancer to look at is a constant, dull ache in the lower back, in the groin or in the abdomen area. This pain could further cause nausea or vomiting. If you are experiencing these, consult your doctor immediately.
As mentioned earlier, testicular cancer is highly curable. A person testin positive for this would have to undergo orchiectomy or surgery to remove the affected testicle. This procedure is done usually on an outpatient basis. After the surgery, the person would have to go for follow up check-ups for the doctor to check if all signs of the tumor are gone. This is because sometimes testicular cancer may spread to other areas of the body, most commonly to the lungs or the abdomen.
Always be conscious about your health condition; take all necessary steps to maintain good health, and remember that you should always be aware of what's up with your body. Here's to good health!