Why Choose Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital for Testicular Cancer Treatment?
By the state-of-the-art technology our hospital is equipped with, our medical team can perform the procedure you need to treat testicular cancer with minimal postoperative risks. Since 1969, we have been providing quality healthcare to the community of Los Angeles. We are bound to offer you the medical services you need in a warm and compassionate environment, as we greatly value our patients' comfort and well-being.
The testicles, also known as testes or gonads, are a part of the male sex glands and are located under the penis in a pouch, medically known as the scrotum. They produce testosterone, one of the male hormones. The germ cells, which can be found inside the testicles, release immature sperm stored in the testicles until it is ejaculated.
Testicular cancer occurs when these cells become malignant in 95% of cases. In contrast, in the remaining 5% of cases, cancer stems from the Leydig cells, located adjacent to the testicles and secrete testosterone, or from the Sertoli cells, which support and nourish germ cells.
Every year, nearly 10,000 men in the United States receive a diagnosis of testicular cancer, which makes this malignant disease quite rare. However, testicular cancer is the most common malignant disease in men between the ages of 15 and 35. The good news is that, when it is found in the early stages, testicular cancer has an excellent prognosis.
The treatment you will receive for testicular cancer will depend on factors such as your age, the type of malignant cells involved in the tumor, whether cancer has spread to adjacent tissue, your general health, and your preferences.
It is essential to know that undergoing treatment for testicular cancer may affect your fertility. Therefore, you should talk to your doctor about this aspect before undergoing treatment, as you can opt to have your sperm banked before surgery if you are going to be infertile after the procedure.
The following are the most effective treatment approaches for testicular cancer:
- chemotherapy: this is one of the most common treatments for testicular cancer, is often the only treatment the patient needs, comes in the form of a pill or injection and the most beneficial chemotherapy drugs for testicular cancer include carboplatin, bleomycin, etoposide, and cisplatin
- radiotherapy: this treatment uses high-powered energy beams, such as X-rays, to destroy malignant cells, and during it, you will be positioned on a table and a large machine moves around you, aiming the energy beams at specific points on your body
- surgery: very few people with testicular cancer require surgery to have their disease treated, but those who do undergo surgery to have either their testicles or the nearby lymph nodes that have been affected by cancer removed may also need to undergo chemotherapy or radiotherapy to make sure no cancerous cells remain in the body
There are two primary forms of testicular cancer, both with multiple subtypes:
- germ cell tumors: they account for over 90% of testicular cancer cases and can be either seminoma germ cell tumors or non-seminomatous germ cell tumors
- stromal tumors: they account for approximately 5% of all cases of testicular cancer, arise from the tissues around the germ cells in the testicles, and have two subtypes, namely Leydig cell tumors and Sertoli cell tumors
Symptoms of Testicular Cancer
Every man experiences different symptoms when it comes to testicular cancer. However, the most common symptoms of this malignant disease are the following:
Diagnosis of Testicular Cancer
The diagnostic process for testicular cancer begins with your doctor asking you about the symptoms you are experiencing. Subsequently, they will conduct a physical exam during which they will look for signs of abnormality on your testicles, such as a lump or a mass. If they suspect testicular cancer, they will order some of the following tests and exams:
- blood tests: the purpose of blood tests is to measure the levels of certain proteins released in the blood by a malignant tumor, which are known as tumor markers
- ultrasound: this test uses sound waves to create images of your testicles and scrotum and helps your doctor determine whether your tumor is solid or filled with fluid, as well as whether it is located inside or outside of your testicle
- biopsy: during a biopsy, a surgeon will collect a small sample of tissue from the tumor in your testicle and then will send it to a laboratory, where it will be examined by a pathologist for malignant cells
While medical researchers do not know what exactly causes testicular cancer, they found that the presence of certain factors in your life can increase your susceptibility to developing it, such as:
- undescended testicle: men who have a testicle that never descended have a higher risk of developing this condition than men whose testicles descended normally, and the risk remains even after the testicle has been surgically relocated to the scrotum
- abnormal testicle development: Klinefelter syndrome and other conditions that cause your testicles to develop abnormally increase your risk of developing testicular cancer
- family history: if one of your close family members had testicular cancer, you are more prone to developing it
- age: testicular cancer is most frequent in men aged between 15 and 35, although it can occur at any age
- race: this malignant disease is more common in Caucasians than in African-Americans
Since medical researchers are not sure what causes testicular cancer and because the risk factors for the disease are beyond control, there is nothing you can do to prevent developing testicular cancer if you have a predisposition to it.