Testicular cancer is one of the least common cancers among men; however, this doesn’t mean it’s not important to be aware of the signs and symptoms. Enlarged testes or a lump in one or both testes are both signs of testicular cancer. Symptoms also include breast tenderness or pain in the testes.
If you’re diagnosed with a specific type of testicular cancer, you and your doctor will discuss what your treatment options are. What are the top three treatment options for testicular cancer?
Surgery is usually the first step for those diagnosed with testicular cancer. This is why it’s so important to recognize the symptoms of testicular cancer and get diagnosed early. Testicular cancer is generally very curable for those who have an early diagnosis. Removing the testicle that has cancer will likely need to be done in order to remove the cancer and ensure it doesn’t spread to other areas of the body.
Since removing one of the testes can affect your fertility, consider banking your sperm before the surgery in case you’d like to have children in the future. After your surgery, your doctor may want to do chemotherapy to ensure the cancer is gone.
Chemotherapy is a medicine designed to combat cancer and kill cancer cells and prevent them from spreading. This can be given intravenously or by mouth. This medicine is toxic to your body and generally has many side effects. Discuss these thoroughly with your doctor.
There are two types of testicular cancer—seminoma and non-seminoma. Seminoma is slow-growing and usually responds very well to treatment. If this is the type of testicular cancer you’re diagnosed with, you may or may not need chemotherapy afterwards. You and your doctor may decide surveillance is the best option after the surgery.
If, however, you’re diagnosed with the non-seminoma form of testicular cancer, this cancer doesn’t generally respond to treatment and can quickly spread. It’s likely you’ll need further treatment after your surgery to combat this type of testicular cancer. Again, this is why early detection is key to a successful treatment!
The seminoma type of testicular cancer usually responds well to radiation therapy. This treatment can help you be cancer-free after your surgery. Radiation therapy involves waves of radiation that help to kill cancerous cells. This type of therapy can also help prevent the cancer from coming back post-surgery.
Radiation therapy may be used in combination with chemotherapy as well as surgery to ensure that your cancer is gone and doesn’t return. Radiation therapy may also be necessary if your cancer has spread to other areas of your body. Although radiation therapy, like chemotherapy, has side effects, they aren’t long-term.
Testicular cancer is one of the most successfully treated cancers. However, early detection is vital for successful treatment. Be aware of the signs of testicular cancer and do self-exams regularly. If you’re experiencing any symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor. Early detection can make your treatment more successful—and it can save your life!