Seminoma “is a slow-growing form of testicular cancer found in men in their 30s, 40s and 50s. The cancer is in the testes, but it can spread to the lymph nodes. Lymph node involvement is either treated with radiotherapy or chemotherapy. Seminomas are very sensitive to radiation therapy.” https://medlineplus.gov › Medical Encyclopedia
This man’s blood tests were clear: no tumor cancer markers, but the surgeon said there was some “leakage” outside of the testis. There were no signs of any other masses.The urologist ordered CT scans to determine if any of these masses had spread (metastasized. which everyone always hopes cancer does not do). he told this man that getting the scans was “not urgent,” but should be done “soon.”The surgeon also referred him to an oncologist (cancer specialist), who would go over all these results with him and help him understand his options and decide how to proceed at that point. [I will update this saga after all that has occurred.]
NOTES TO ALL HUMANS between the ages of 15 – 50 who have testicles, DO THESE THINGS:
ANY nodules, masses, pain, changes in size or texture of a testicle MUST be reported to a doctor AND that doctor should refer to a urologist and/or should request immediately to have an ultrasound, for diagnostic purposes.
STILL: early detection is key.
Signs and symptoms of testicular cancer include:
- A lump or enlargement in either testicle.
- A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum.
- A dull ache in the abdomen or groin.
- A sudden collection of fluid in the scrotum.
- Pain or discomfort in a testicle or the scrotum.
- Enlargement or tenderness of the breasts.
- Back pain.
There are several causes of testicular lumps and swellings:
- varicocele – caused by enlarged veins in the testicles (may look like a bag of worms)
- hydrocele – a swelling caused by fluid around the testicle
- epididymal cyst – a lump caused by a collection of fluid in the epididymis
- testicular torsion – a sudden painful swelling that occurs when a testicle becomes twisted (this is a medical emergency and requires surgery as soon as possible)
- epididymitis – a chlamydia infection in the epididymis can cause inflammation, swelling and tenderness inside the scrotum (ball sack); a few men will notice that the whole of the scrotum is red and tender (this is called epididymo-orchitis)
- testicular cancer – an estimated 4 in 100 lumps are cancer, so this is an uncommon cause of lumps
Types of testicular cancer
The different types of testicular cancer are classified by the type of cells the cancer begins in.
The most common type of testicular cancer is “germ cell testicular cancer,” which accounts for around 95% of all cases. Germ cells are a type of cell that the body uses to create sperm.
There are two main subtypes of germ cell testicular cancer. They are:
- seminomas – which have become more common in the past 20 years and now account for 50 to 55% of testicular cancers
- non-seminomas – which account for most of the rest and include teratomas, embryonal carcinomas, choriocarcinomas and yolk sac tumors
Both types tend to respond well to chemotherapy.
Less common types of testicular cancer include:
- Leydig cell tumors – which account for around 1 to 3% of cases
- Sertoli cell tumors – which account for around 1% of cases
- lymphoma – which accounts for around 4% of cases
Our Ball Checker mobile app provides a few facts every guy and girl should know about testicular cancer as well as how to do a testicular self exam. If you have testicles or know someone that does, then you should get this app.
With early detection testicular cancer is almost 100% survivable but lack of awareness leads to late diagnosis and unfortunate outcomes. The lack of awareness and education is one of the biggest challenges we have in the fight against testicular cancer.
Make sure you and the men in your life have the knowledge that could end up saving their life.
A Moment of Awkwardness Could Save A Lifetime. Talk About Testicular Cancer.
“Dr Turnbull and her team uncovered new genetic mutations in testicular germ cell tumours, which make up the vast majority of testicular cancers. They found new chromosome duplications and other abnormalities that could contribute to the development of this cancer, as well as confirming a previous association with a gene called KIT.
“Their study also found defective copies of a DNA repair gene called XRCC2 in a patient who had become resistant to platinum-based chemotherapy. They were able to support the link between XRCC2 and platinum resistance by sequencing an additional platinum-resistant tumour.
“’Although generally testicular cancer responds well to treatment, resistance to platinum-based chemotherapy is associated with a poor long-term survival rate,’ explains Dr Turnbull. ‘The repercussions of these findings could be significant for men suffering with this disease. In the future, men who are destined to fail platinum treatment— currently around 3% of cases—could be identified before they endure courses of chemotherapy and be offered different treatments, more suited to their particular type of tumour.’”
“These cancers can be cured in nearly all patients. You first have surgery to remove the testicle and spermatic cord (called a radical inguinal orchiectomy). After surgery, you have many treatment choices:
“Careful observation (surveillance): If the cancer has not spread beyond the testicle, the plan most experts prefer is that you be watched closely by your doctor for up to 10 years. This means getting physical exams and blood tests every 3 to 6 months for the first year, and less often after that. Imaging tests (CT scans and sometimes chest x-rays) are done every 3 months for 6 months, and then once or twice a year.
“If these tests do not find any signs that cancer has spread beyond the testicle, no other treatment is needed. If the cancer has spread, you may get treatments like radiation or chemo. The cancer will come back in about 15% to 20% of patients, most often as spread to lymph nodes , but if it does, radiation or chemo can still usually cure the cancer.
“Radiation therapy: Radiation aimed at para-aortic lymph nodes is another option. These nodes are in the back of your abdomen (belly), around the large blood vessel called the aorta. Because seminoma cells are very sensitive to radiation, low doses can be used and you’ll get about 10 to 15 treatments over 2 to 3 weeks.
“Chemotherapy: An option that works as well as radiation is 1 or 2 cycles of chemotherapy with the drug carboplatin after surgery. Many experts prefer chemo over radiation because it seems to be easier to tolerate.”
Survival by stage
“There are no UK-wide statistics available for testicular cancer survival.
“Survival statistics are available for the different stages of testicular cancer in one area of England. These figures are for men diagnosed between 2002 and 2006. They don’t provide information about the type of testicular cancer or tumour marker level.
“The [data] below are for 4 stages of testicular cancer. Your doctor may use a different system that only has 3 stages.
“Almost all men survive their cancer for five years or more after diagnosis.
“Stage 1 means the cancer is only in the testes.”
“Almost 95 out of 100 men (almost 95%) survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis.
“Stage 2 means the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes.”
“Pure seminoma means that there are no teratoma cells in the tumour. You will have normal Alpha fetoprotein (AFP) marker levels if you have pure seminoma.
“There are two categories of outlook for pure seminoma testicular cancer – good prognosis and intermediate prognosis. No one with pure seminoma is classified as having a poor prognosis.”
“Almost 90 out of every 100 men (almost 90%) survive for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed.
“Most men have a good prognosis. Good prognosis means that the seminoma has spread only to the lymph nodes or the lungs. It has not spread anywhere else.”
“More than 70 out of every 100 men (more than 70%) survive for 5 years or more after diagnosis.
“Intermediate prognosis means that the seminoma has spread beyond the lung or lymph nodes to other parts of the body, such as the brain or liver.”
Survival for all stages of testicular cancer
“The outlook for testicular cancer is one of the best for all cancers. Nearly all men survive their disease.” [NOTE: in the 1970s, this statistic was almost the opposite: 90% DIED from it!]
“In England and Wales:
- almost all men will survive their cancer for 1 year or more after they are diagnosed
- almost all men (98%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis
“Unlike some other cancers, it is rare for testicular cancer to come back more than 5 years later.”
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