Testicular Tumors: Prevention, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Testicular Tumors: Prevention, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment | UPMC Italy

What is Testicular Cancer?

Testicular cancer, although a rare neoplasm, is one of the most common diseases among young adults. The testes are the organs where the formation and maturation of sperm occurs, as well as the production of certain hormones, including testosterone. Testicular cancer results from disruption of the cells of the testes and scrotum, which in most cases originates in the germ cells, which are responsible for sperm production. Non-germ cell tumors are less common and generally benign. Usually, the tumor affects only one testis, but those who have already had a neoplasm in one testis have an increased risk of developing another.

Risk Factors

Although the risk factors for testicular cancer are limited and the causes of this neoplasm are still unknown, there are some situations in which the risk increases. What, then, are the main risk factors?

  • Age. Testicular cancer is most common between the ages of 15 and 34 and becomes rare over the age of 60.
  • Familiarity. A family history of testicular cancer increases the risk.
  • Cryptorchidism. Failure of one or both testes to descend into the scrotum increases the likelihood of testicular cell disruption and tumor initiation. The risk varies depending on the location of the cryptorchidism (in the abdomen or groin). Surgery to correct this condition within the first two years of life reduces the risk of developing the tumor.
  • Klinefelter syndrome. A chromosomal abnormality that causes abnormal testicular development.
  • HIV infection.

Prevention of Testicular Cancer

As with many other cancers, testicular cancer can be successfully treated if detected early. There are no specific prevention programs for testicular cancer, but it is essential to consider risk factors. In the event that one or more risk factors are present, you should consult your referring physician to consider whether and when to undergo a testicular ultrasound. However, testicular self-examination remains the first and most important step to diagnose this neoplasm early.

How to Perform a Testicular Self-examination

Perform a testicular self-examination at least once a month to monitor for any warning bells. Here's how to do it:

  • Perform the examination when the scrotum is relaxed, such as after showering.
  • Take one testicle at a time and rotate it between your thumb and forefinger to check for nodules.

Symptoms of Testicular Cancer

Some common symptoms of testicular cancer include:

  • Nodule (may be painless).
  • Swollen or enlarged testicle without a nodule.
  • Sensation of heaviness in the scrotum or lower abdomen.
  • Breast pain or growth (rare).

If you notice a lump or change in the testicles, it is important to see a specialist immediately. During your annual checkup with your doctor, ask for a testicular examination. Remember that early detection is critical.

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