Testicular Cancer: Expert details main sign and symptoms
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More than 2,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with testicular cancer in the UK every year. One of the most common symptoms that many of us are aware of is a painless lump in the testicle. However, there are several other signs that you should get checked by a doctor.
Speaking with Express.co.uk, consultant urological surgeon and andrologist at The Princess Grace Hospital in London, Asif Muneer, said: “It is more common in white men from northern Europe and affects a younger age group aged 15 to 49 years old. It is important to note that testicular cancer can affect anyone born with a testicle.
“This includes transgender people who have not had testicles removed, male-assigned non-binary people or intersex people if they have a testicle.”
According to Mr Muneer one symptom of testicular cancer is testicular atrophy – or a shrinking testicle.
He listed other signs of testicular cancer as:
- Swelling or sudden fluid build-up in your scrotum, called a hydrocele
- A hard lump in either testicle
- A feeling of heaviness in your scrotum
- Dull ache in your groin or lower abdomen
- Pain or discomfort in your scrotum or a testicle.
“It’s important to know what feels normal for you, so you can be aware of any changes,” he said.
“These symptoms can also occur with other conditions, too, so don’t jump to conclusions if you notice them.
“Still, schedule a visit with your GP to be sure and to get any changes checked out and be reassured that there shouldn’t be a delay in sending you to hospital for a specialist assessment if cancer is suspected.”
Mr Muneer said: “If testicular cancer has spread to other parts of your body, you may also experience other symptoms. The most common place for testicular cancer to spread is nearby lymph nodes in your abdomen and less commonly to the lungs.
“In very advanced cases the cancer can spread to your liver, brain or bones.”
If the cancer spreads, you may experience the following symptoms:
A persistent cough
Coughing or spitting up blood
Shortness of breath
Swelling and enlargement of breasts
A lump or swelling in your neck
Lower back pain.
More than 95 percent of patients will survive five years or more after diagnosis. Chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery are the three main treatments for testicular cancer.
There are different types of testicular cancer – the most common is called germ cell tumour.
Within germ cell tumours are two subtypes: seminomas (accounting for 40-45 percent of cancers) and non-seminomas (these include teratomas, embryonal carcinomas, choriocarcinomas and yolk sac tumours). Often the different subtypes are mixed.
Your treatment plan will depend on the type of testicular cancer you have – whether it’s a seminoma or a non-seminoma – and the stage of your testicular cancer.
Mr Muneer explained: “Often removal of the testicle with the cancer is all that is required.
“This is a routine procedure performed as a day case. A prosthetic testicle can be inserted at the same time.
“It is also worth remembering that later chemotherapy can make you infertile and therefore storing sperm before the operation is recommended.
“If for any reason there is no sperm found, specialist centres can explore the testicle for sperm or try and find sperm from the other testicle.
“Following surgery some patients require chemotherapy and the chemotherapy agents have an excellent outcome when it comes to treating testicular cancer – even advanced cases.”
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