Testicular cancer only occurs in about 1 out of 250 men; however, it is the most common type of cancer in younger men. April is Testicular Cancer Awareness Month, and we are answering some common questions related to testicular cancer.
What causes testicular cancer?
The causes of testicular cancer are not always clear but there are risk factors that may increase your likelihood of developing it. They are:
- Family history: Men whose father or brother had testicular cancer are at an increased risk.
- Age: This type of cancer can develop at any age but is most common in males ages 15 – 35.
- Race: Testicular cancer occurs more frequently in white men.
- An undescended testicle: Men with this condition should be evaluated by a urologist.
What are the symptoms of testicular cancer?
While some men detect one or more symptoms in the early stages, others may not notice anything unusual until the cancer has spread. “The most common symptoms men may experience is swelling in their testicle, a heavy feeling in the scrotum, a lump in the testicle, pain or discomfort in that area and a dull ache in the testicle, scrotum or groin,” says Kasey Morrison, MD, a urologist with Adventist HealthCare Adventist Medical Group.
How is testicular cancer diagnosed?
“This type of cancer is often found by men themselves or during a routine exam with their physician,” states Dr. Morrison. If your primary care physician spots an abnormality, he or she may refer you to a urologist – a doctor that specializes in diseases and conditions affecting the male reproductive organs. If a urologist suspects you have cancer, you’ll need additional testing, such as ultrasound or blood tests, to determine if the lump is cancer. Treatment will vary based on your type and stage of cancer. Fortunately, the majority of testicular cancer cases are survivable and curable, especially if caught early.
How can I prevent testicular cancer?
“You can’t prevent testicular cancer but it’s important to see your doctor for yearly check-ups and discuss any swelling, aches or lumps in the testes you notice right away,” says Dr. Morrison.