Testicular cancer is one of the more treatable cancers, especially if caught early. It is important to know what is normal for you and to check your testicles regularly for changes. The testicles are two male sex organs, oval in shape, which sit inside the scrotum on either side of the penis. They are an important part of the reproductive system, producing sperm and testosterone, a hormone which aids sexual development. Here are some facts about cancer of the testicle.
1. Symptoms can include a painless swelling or lump, or a change in texture or shape of one of the testicles
2. Germ cell testicular cancer is the most common type of cancer, which occurs in 95% of cases. The germ cells are used to create sperm. There are two sub-types, seminomas (50-55%) and non-seminomas. Both cancers will respond to chemotherapy.
3. There are 3 less common types of tumour which are Leydig cell tumours (1-3%), Sertoli cell tumours (1%) and lymphomas (4%)
4. Cancer of the testicle is rare - just 1% of men who get cancer will develop it. Approximately 2,200 men are diagnosed a year.
5. The cancer tends to affect younger men - the most common age to develop it is aged 15-49.
6. White men have a higher risk of developing the cancer than men from other ethnic groups.
7. UK cases of testicular cancer have doubled since the mid-1970s. Scientists do not yet understand the reasons for the rise.
8. Risk factors for the cancer, include undescended testicles at birth, having a family history of the disease and having previously been diagnosed with it. The cancer can also reoccur, so it is important to be monitored for up to 10 years following treatment.
9. 99% of men treated for the disease survive for over a year, and 98% will survive for 5 years or more. Treatment usually involves the removal of the affected testicle.
10. Seminomas may be treated with chemotherapy, or occasionally radiotherapy, but non-seminomas are not.
Further information on Testicular Cancer