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Testicular Cancer

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Overview

Testicles/ testes are part of the male reproductive system. Cancer in the testicles is called testicular cancer. Testicular cancer is less frequent- 1 out of 250 males will develop testicular cancer. The average age is 33 years for the diagnosis of testicular cancer. This is more likely to occur in young and middle-aged men, but in some case children’s and teens are also likely to develop testicular cancer [1]. According to the Globocan 2018 report, the incidence rate and mortality rate for testicular cancer in India was reported to be 0.38% and 0.25% respectively [2].

Types of Testicular Cancer

Germ cell tumors

More than 90% of the testicular cancer begins in the germ cells of testes. The two common types are seminomas and non-seminomas. Seminomas spread at a slower rate than non-seminomas.

Stromal tumors

These tumors are known as gonadal stromal tumors as they begin in the stroma of the testicles. They are more likely to occur in children in comparison to adults.

Causes

Testicular cancers are caused due to chromosomal abnormalities- production of extra copies of chromosome 12, namely isochromosome 12p.

Risk Factors

Family history

Those men whose father or brother has earlier been diagnosed with testicular cancer are at increased risk of developing testicular cancer.

Undescended testes

Most important risk factor of developing testicular cancer. In this condition, the testicles do not move down.

Previous history of testicular cancer

If one of the testes already had testicular cancer, the risks of other testis developing cancer is high.

Hypospadias

The risk increases if a person has an abnormality of the penis and urethra called hypospadias.

Signs & symptoms

Signs of a testicular tumor are:

A swelling in the testis with or without pain

A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum

Pain or a dull ache in the testicle, scrotum or groin

Tenderness or changes in the male breast tissue

Diagnosis

Scrotal Ultrasound

It indicates whether the lump is in the testicle or separate within the scrotum, and whether it’s solid or filled with fluid.

Blood tests

Patients with testicular cancer have markers such as alpha feto-protein (AFP), and human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG) which are elevated in the blood.

Histology

Biopsy of the tumour and examination under a microscope.

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