You must have heard a lot about the testicular cancer treatment though the awareness about this disease is a bit low among the population. This kind of cancer is one of the most common types affecting men in the age group of 20 to 35 years. It is therefore a must to possess the basic awareness about this kind of cancer and its treatment modes to better cure and prevent it.
What are the testicles?
These are the male sex glands which produce testosterone and the sperm. They are 2- egg shaped glands which are located inside the scrotum and are held by the spermatic cord. The scrotum also contains the vas deferens and the vessels and nerves of the testicles. The germ cells inside the testicles are where immature sperms are produced which further travel through a series of tubes to mature as a sperm. This mature sperm is finally stored in the epididymis which is a long tube near the testicle.You may find more details about this at Testicular Cancer Lawrenceville.
What is testicular cancer?
Cancer that is formed in the tissues of one or in both of the testicles is known as testicular cancer. In most of the scenarios, the testicular cancer starts in the germ cells. The testicular cancer tumor can be of 2 types, seminomas and non seminomas depending on the way they grow and their spread mode. Non -seminomas grow and spread much faster compared to the seminomas and hence both types are treated by different methods. When a testicular tumor has both seminoma and non-seminoma cancer cells, they are treated as a non-seminoma case.
How is testicular cancer diagnosed?
Testicular cancer is diagnosed by examination of the testicles and the blood to check for any cancer symptoms. A physical examination is first held to check for any symptoms of lumps or diseased areas which might look a bit abnormal. The testicles are also checked for any pain, swelling or lumps along with a complete study of the patient’s medical history. Once the physical examination is done, ultrasound tests are conducted to study a picture of the body tissues. In this procedure ultrasound waves are passed through the body and a sonogram report is drawn as they bounce off the internal tissues and organs.
In case of any lump or tumor identified, the serum tumor marker test is done which is a process in which a blood sample is studied to calculate the amount of substances that is released into the blood by the body cells. If this study shows increased contents of tumor markers which indicate a cancer presence, then a biopsy and a radical inguinal orchiectomy are carried out. The tumor markers for testicular cancer are Alpha – fetoprotein, Beta-human chronic gonadotropin and Lactate dehydrogenase.
Testicular cancer Treatment Options
In almost about 95% of the cases, testicular cancer can be cured with treatment. The chance of getting cured increases the earlier the disease is diagnosed. The traditional treatment methods for testicular cancer include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.
Surgery – In this method of testicular cancer treatment, the testicles are removed by an incision in the groin by a method known as radical inguinal orchiectomy. Some lymph nodes in the abdomen can also at times be removed as part of the surgery by lymph node dissection methods. The removal of one testicle does not normally interfere with the patient’s ability to have sexual intercourse or produce children as one healthy testicle is usually sufficient. Some may also prefer to place an artificial testicle during or after the operation for cosmetic purposes. In cases of removal of lymph nodes, it is possible that it may affect one’s fertility though it does not change his sexual ability. Special nerve sparing techniques of surgery can be handled to prevent losing the ability to ejaculate in a normal manner.
Radiation Therapy – This is a mode of treatment where high-energy radiations are used to kill the cancerous cells. This is a local therapy which is normally concentrated on the diseased area reducing the effect on other normal cells. The seminomas kind of testicular cancer responds well to radiation and external machines are employed to treat them, usually after surgery. Men diagnosed with non-seminoma type of cancer do not undergo radiation therapy as such kinds of tumors are less sensitive to radiations. This kind of therapy affects the sperm production in the individuals though they can regain it within a period of 1 or 2 years.
Chemotherapy – This testicular cancer treatment includes administration of drugs to kill the cancerous cells. It is normally given as a adjuvant therapy after surgery or at times of advanced levels as initial treatment to restrict the spread. These drugs travel through the blood stream and kill the diseased cells. Sometimes the normal cells are also affected along with the cancer cells and the destruction depends on the stage of cancer and the dosage of drugs provided. This treatment reduces the sperm count in the individuals though it gets back to normal with time. High dosages of chemotherapy are advisable only when the patients undergo transplantation of the bone marrow as the drugs destroy the bone marrow cells. If you are worried about your fertility problem, then you can talk to your physician about sperm banking options which can help you have kids even if you lose fertility before or after treatment.
Factors affecting treatment options
Testicular cancer is most of the times curable and the treatment that is chosen depends on many factors that decide the chances of recovery. These factors include the type of cancer and the size of the tumor. This also includes the details like the number and size of the lymph nodes. The stage to which cancer has progressed and the levels of the tumor markers also play a pivotal role in deciding the treatment option. Some modes of testicular cancer treatment methods can lead to infertility permanently. Under such circumstances, the individuals can consider the option of sperm banking where the sperm can be collected and stored in a frozen mode.