Testicular cancer is the growth of malignant, or cancerous, cells in one or both of the testicles. It can occur at any age but frequently strikes young men. In fact, it is the most common type of cancer in males between 15 and 35 years old. While the cause of testicular cancer is uncertain, there are several known risk factors including family history, a previously undescended testicle, prior testicular cancer and abnormal testicle development.
In some cases, testicular cancer is asymptomatic. If there are symptoms, they often present as pain or heaviness around the testicle, an increase in the size of a testicle or a testicular lump. Some patients also experience abdominal or back pain or develop an abundance of breast tissue.
To diagnose testicular cancer, your physician will perform a physical examination of the testicles and shine a light on the scrotum to detect the presence of a lump. Testing may be recommended in the form of a blood test, CT scan, ultrasound and possibly X-ray.
Treatment of testicular cancer may require surgery to remove the affected testicle and possibly some surrounding lymph nodes. Radiation and/or chemotherapy may also be utilized for some forms of testicular cancer. Your doctor will devise the best treatment plan for you, depending upon your particular condition and the stage at which the cancer was discovered.