Testicular cancer is rare when compared to other forms of cancer. This cancer develops in one or both testicles in men, particularly among men in the between the ages of 20-years-old and 40-years-old. It may be seen in elderly men as well. In the past few decades, the number of people affected by testicular cancer has increased.
Testicular cancer is basically of three types:
- Germ cell tumors – This is the most common type of testicular cancer and starts in the cells that give rise to sperm.
- Stromal tumors – This type starts in the cells that produce hormones and cells supporting germ cells.
- Secondary testicular tumor – This form of testicular cancer has its origin in other parts of the body and then spreads to the testicles.
The most common symptoms of this cancer include:
- Swelling or lump in one or both the testicles
- Pain in one or both the testicles
- Feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
- Collection of fluid in scrotum
- Dull pain in the lower abdomen, back, or groin
Many of the above-said symptoms may be seen with other conditions, like epididymitis, as well. As the disease progresses, cancer may spread from testicles to other organs in the body. The symptoms of this stage of cancer may depend on the organ to which cancer has spread.
Symptoms of metastasized testicular cancer include:
- Sweating without any apparent reason
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
One should make it a point to meet with a doctor if there is pain or swelling in one or both the testicles. This is particularly important if the discomfort persists for more than two weeks.
A number of risk factors are linked to this form of cancer:
- Undescended testicles – Those who have undescended testicles are at increased risk of developing testicular cancer when compared to others.
- Family history – Family history of this cancer increases the risk. If a person has this cancer his brothers and sons are at increased risk of developing testicular cancer.
- HIV infection – Men with HIV infection, particularly those who developed AIDS are at increased risk of developing this cancer.
- Age – Testicular cancer is found to be more common among men between the ages of 20-years-old and 40-years-old.
- Abnormal development of testicles – Conditions that lead to the abnormal development of testicles also increase the risk of testicular cancer.