Testicular cancer is the single biggest cause of cancer-related deaths in men aged 15-35 years old in the UK. Signs to watch out for are:
A lump in one testicle
A pain and tenderness in either testicle
Discharge or pus from the penis
Blood in the semen at ejaculation
A build up of fluid inside the scrotum
A heavy or dragging feeling inside the scrotum
An increase in size of a testicle
An enlargement of breasts with or without tenderness
It is important that you check your testicles regularly and consult your GP if you notice any changes. The embarrassment factor sometimes prevents men seeking medical advice, however it is important to bear in mind that early diagnosis can ensure that treatment is received quickly.
There are two types of testicular cancer: seminomas and teratomas. Seminomas are fairly smooth tumours and teratomas are more complex and contain different types of tumour.
Testicular cancer can be cured in over 95% of cases if caught at an early stage; late diagnosis increases the risk of a poorer response to treatment.
Seminomas are usually diagnosed before they have spread to other parts of the body and the treatment given is normally radiotherapy. If the cancer has spread, chemotherapy is given as well as radiotherapy and the original tumour and testicle is surgically removed.
Teratomas tumours that have not spread are surgically removed and if there are any further signs of the cancer, chemotherapy is given.
When the testicle is removed, during treatment, an artificial testicle can be inserted to disguise the fact completely. Where radiotherapy and chemotherapy are used, fertility can sometimes be affected. In the main this is not the case, although sperm can be stored before treatment for use later.