Testicular cancer is most common cancer among males aged 20-40
Most of us are familiar with the more common cancers that develop in our population each year; colon cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and breast cancer are all on our radar. While these cancers may be more commonly discussed, other lesser-known cancers can be more prevalent in certain age groups or sexes.
The most common cancer among males aged 20-40 is testicular cancer. While less common than other cancers, it is estimated that somewhere close to 10,000 men in the United States will be diagnosed with testicular cancer each year. This is a striking statistic for such a young age group. The good news is that it can be more easily diagnosed than many of the more common cancers. Whereas some diseases may require procedures, lab work, x-rays, etc. to diagnose, (i.e. colonoscopy for colon cancer), testicular cancer is most commonly identified by self-examination. And, if found early, it has a nearly 100% cure rate.
When a man finds a concerning nodule on his testicle, it is recommended that he see a doctor immediately. The doctor will perform an examination to confirm the abnormality and perhaps schedule an ultrasound or other lab work to determine the extent of disease. Next, removal of the tumor becomes very important. The most common procedure for the removal is radical orchiectomy or removal of the entire testicle and associated “cord”. Partial removal of the tumor is not recommended as multiple implants can be present within the same testicle and should be removed during the initial surgery.
There are different types of testicular cancer and some are more aggressive than others. Some may require either radiation, chemotherapy, or perhaps more radical surgeries to remove metastatic deposits if detected. Sperm banking and testicular prostheses can also be part of the discussion surrounding treatment.
So, what is the take home message? Self-examination is THE key to early diagnosis and treatment of this condition. Self-exams are best performed in a warm shower or similar environment where the muscles associated with the scrotum and testicles are completely relaxed allowing better examination of the testicle itself. The surface of the testicle should be smooth like a boiled egg that had its shell removed. There are structures associated with the back portion of the testicle, including the epididymis, which may be felt. These are normal. However, if a firm or hard nodule is felt on the testicle itself, this is concerning and needs to be evaluated by a physician as soon as possible. Upon reaching puberty. performing a regular, monthly self-exam is the best thing that any man can do encourage early detection of testicular cancer and an excellent prognosis. Check our other blog to learn how to perform a self-check: https://www.urologycentersalabama.com/testicular-cancer-self-checks-are-important/