Problem is commonly seen in men between ages 15 and 35, but chance for cure is high
By Joseph M. Jacob, MD
Testicular cancer is a rare type of cancer that develops in the sperm-producing cells of the testis. Men usually present to the doctor with a lump on their testicle or new testicular pain. Unfortunately, delays in diagnosis are common since men are reluctant to talk about issues that develop in this area of the body. Testicular cancer is most commonly seen in young men between the ages of 15 and 35 and can be very aggressive. However, great advances have been made in this disease and most testicular cancers are now curable.
If a man is found to have a solid testicular mass, they should be referred to a urologist immediately. The urologist will remove the entire testicle from the groin. Testicular cancer does have very specific tumor markers and these will be checked frequently since it is a simple blood test. After the testicle is removed, the urologist will obtain imaging of the chest and abdomen to identify the extent of disease. Based on this and the type of testis cancer, various treatment regimens will be recommended. Fortunately, even if the extent of the cancer is great, most patients have one of the highest rates of cure for any type of cancer.
Overall, the chance of cure is 95 percent; however, common types of testis cancer have cure rates close to 99 percent. To achieve these very high cure rates, patients and referring physicians should make it an absolute priority to consult with a urologist who has strong expertise in testicular cancer since this is a rare cancer. This expert will ensure that all the treatments and diagnostic methods available are offered in the appropriate sequence. Mistakes in treatment can decrease these cure rates dramatically. Our department is prepared to help these young men receive the highest quality care that they deserve.