The term testicular cancer indicates several types of malignant testicular tumors histopathologically divided into two major types: seminomas and non-seminoma. Each type has different treatments. For more information, please see testicular cancer treatment.
Seminomas – this group represents about 40% – 50% cases of testicular cancer. The tumor develops by an anarchical proliferation of malignant cells of the innermost layer of the testicle (germinal epithelium), mainly in the seminiferous tubules, the site of the germination, maturation, and transportation of the sperm cells within the male testes. Seminomas response well to treatment (radiosensitive) and their prognosis is good in 95% of cases, although regular monitoring of the patient is required after the therapy.
Non-seminomas – also called nonseminomatous germ cell tumors of the testis (NSGT), these cancers tend to be diagnosed in younger patients than seminoma, affecting mostly males in their late teens to twenties. They are the most common primary testicular cancer, accounting for 50 to 60% of cases. In this condition, the left testicle can develop up to 80% from the age of puberty to adulthood.
How to check for testicular cancer?
Testicular cancer symptoms or warnings signs are not so difficult to be detected. Very often, the tumor is discovered by the patient himself in the form of a lump which is hard, nodular or/and solid, that appears within one of the testes. Without a proper treatment, the disease will progresses and can vary in size from a few millimeters to several centimeters. Therefore, early diagnosis and therapy are very important. Please see testicular cancer symptoms and signs.
Testicular cancer is a rare cancer, representing around 1% to 2% of all cancers, and about 3.5% of urological malignant tumors. But it has been increasing for several decades. As for now, testicular cancers are the most common cancer in men 15 to 35 years. The good news, the disease is most often curable in almost 100% cases. See testicular cancer treatment options for additional info.
The testes (testicles) belong to the male reproductive system. They are two in number and located in the appendix of the penis, outside the pelvic cavity, in a pocket surrounded by a wrinkled skin called scrotum.
They are glands that produce testosterone, the primary male hormone responsible for the development of genitals. Its production, in the beginning of puberty, causes physiological changes designed to transform a boy into a man, determining the onset of secondary male sexual characteristics. The testicles are also the site of sperm production (spermatogenesis), which starts at puberty and continues throughout a man life.
From puberty, the testes continuously produce new spermatozoa which travel from the testicles through the vas deferens, a tube located inside the penis, where they mix with a liquid produced by the prostate and the seminal glands. This mixture of liquid and spermatozoa is called sperm. The sperm, emitted by the penis when a man ejaculates, is expelled through the urethra, which is the tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder. Every drop of semen contains tens of thousands of microscopic spermatozoa. A single sperm reaches the uterus and fertilizes the egg, fertilization.
Both testicles are rarely affected by the cancer simultaneously (1 to 2% of cases), and after cure the risk of the other testes to develop cancer is 2 to 5% in 25 years. Platinum-based antineoplastic drugs (informally called platins or chemotherapy with platinum salts) have significantly changed the prognosis of this disease since the beginning of the 80s. Today, nearly 80% of these cancers are cured, regardless of the stage. In fact, the survival rate is 99% for stage 1.
Although the cure rates are high, the effectiveness of testicular cancer treatment depending on the type of tumor, the quality of care received, as well as the lifestyle of the patient. For additional information, please living with cancer
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