Definition of Testicular Cancer
Testicular cancer occurs in the testicles, which are the organs that produce male sex hormones (testosterone) and sperm for reproduction.
For males between the ages of 15 – 35, testicular cancer is the most common cancer in America.
Signs and Symptoms of Testicular Cancer
In the beginning stages, a painless, growing mass in the scrotum is the most common sign of testicular cancer emerging. In many cases, testicular cancers present with no symptoms, but some symptoms that may occur are:
- Pain in the scrotum
- Swollen lymph nodes in the groin
- Weight loss
- A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
- Pain or discomfort in a testicle or the scrotum
- A lump or enlargement in either testicle
- A dull ache in the abdomen or groin
- A sudden collection of fluid in the scrotum
- Enlargement or tenderness of the breasts
Causes of Testicular Cancer
According to doctors, testicular cancer typically occurs when healthy cells in a testicle are altered. Usually, healthy cells grow and divide in an orderly way and keep the body functioning normally. However, when cells develop abnormalities, they cause the otherwise normal paced growth to get out of control, and cancer cells continue to divide even though new cells are not needed. The accumulating cells then begin to form a mass, or tumor, in the testicle.
Nearly all testicular cancer begins in what is known as the ‘germ cells’. These are the cells in the testicles that produce immature sperm. What causes these germ cells to become abnormal and eventually cancerous is not yet known.
Patients with a history of testis that are undescended are at a higher risk of developing testicular cancer.