About the condition
Cancer of the testicles, also known as testicular cancer, is one of the less common cancers. It usually affects younger men between the ages of 15 and 49.
Each year in the UK around 2,300 men are diagnosed with testicular cancer. Testicular cancer occurs when the genetic material of cells in the testicles become damaged or changed, producing mutations that affect normal cell growth and division. The abnormal cells then replicate, causing cancer. If undetected, the cancer can spread beyond the testicles and move to other parts of the body.
Rates of testicular cancer are five times higher in white men than in black men. The reasons for this are unclear. The causes of testicular cancer are not fully understood, but a variety of risk factors are apparent.
The most common symptom of testicular cancer is a lump or swelling in one of the testicles. The lump or swelling can be about the size of a pea, but may be larger. Most testicular lumps or swellings are not a sign of cancer, but they should never be ignored.
Testicular cancer can also cause other symptoms, including:
- a dull ache or sharp pain in the testicles or scrotum, which may come and go
- a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
- a sudden collection of fluid in the scrotum (hydrocele)
- a general feeling of being unwell
Some men find it embarrassing to talk about these sorts of symptoms, but if any of the above apply to you, or if you have any concerns about similar symptoms, it is essential that you see your doctor, as your chances of recovery are much higher if your cancer is diagnosed early. Alternatively you can book an appointment with one of our specialists by completing this form online or by calling 020 8247 3351.
If you’re referred to CCL for diagnosis, your consultant or oncologist will advise you on which tests are relevant to your individual symptoms. It is important that patients receive a swift and accurate diagnosis, so that treatment can begin as soon as possible for the best chance of a full recovery. Diagnostic tests for testicular cancer include:
- A physical examination.
- An Ultrasound scan, which uses high frequency sound waves to look inside the body and produce live images on a computer display.
- A blood test, to detect certain hormones that sometimes indicate testicular cancer
- A biopsy, where a cell sample is taken to be examined for signs of cancer.
- An X-ray, which is when low level radiation is used to create an image of the body
- A Magnetic Resonance Imaging scan, a procedure that uses radio waves and a computer to make a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body
- A Computerised Tomography scan, which shows a 3D image of the area being looked at
At CCL, patients with testicular cancer are treated by a specialist multidisciplinary team. This team works together to create a treatment plan to suit the individual needs of the patient.
Treatment options include:
- Surgery to remove the affected testicle and potentially any affected lymph nodes, depending on the stage of the cancer
- Radiotherapy, where high-energy rays are used to destroy the cancer cells.
- Chemotherapy, where chemical agents destroy the cancer cells preventing them from spreading to different areas.
Around 25-30% of men experience a return of testicular cancer, usually within the first two years after their treatment has finished. Because of this risk, you will need regular tests to check if the cancer has returned.
At CCL we provide support that caters to both the physical and emotional needs of the patient, before, during and after treatment.
Treatment for testicular cancer usually leads to the removal of one or both testicles. We understand that this can be very distressing and potentially frustrating, so at CCL we have specialist therapists on hand to help you cope with the changes you might experience after treatment.
We offer a wide range of services for patients, as well as their loved ones, designed to make a very difficult time as easy as possible, and to give our patients the best treatment and support possible. Our support services include counselling, group sessions and much more. You can find the full range of our support services here. We’ll be with you every step of the way.
If you have any questions about testicular cancer or would like to book an appointment with one of our testicular cancer specialists, complete this form online or call 020 8247 3351.
Testicular Cancer Consultants