If abnormal cells develop in the testicle and start multiplying uncontrollably, a malignant tumor (cancer) will develop. It is unknown why is this occuring. If the treatment does not start immediately, the cancerous cells can be expanded (metastasized) by the lymphatic system in the lymph glands in the abdomen, the chest and neck and, eventually, into the lungs. Since the testicles are not directly linked to the lymph nodes, the disease usually does not spread from one testicle to another.
The main symptom is a bump in the affected testicle. This bump grows slowly, and the patient may not be aware of it because there is no accompanying pain in 90% of cases. In many cases, the patient will notice the bump only if a minor injury caused him to look more closely at his testicles. Cancer can also be detected during a routine examination.
Only about 0.5% of all registered malignant tumors are testicular cancers. However, this is the most common form of cancer in young men (i.e. men aged between 20 and 35); 75% of cases of testicular cancer occur in men under the age of 50.
If testicular cancer remains unnoticed for a long time, it can expand and affect vital parts of the body, especially lungs. Early detection and treatment significantly increases the chances of complete healing.
What to do?
To detect an eventual disease on time, as a precaution, you should examine your testicles at least once a week. If you notice any kind of bump or swelling, and no matter how insignificant it may seem to you, contact a doctor who will send you to an urologist. The swelling is probably harmless; small (and insignificant) swellings are actually a normal thing and they often appear on epididymis. The bump, however, is almost never harmless, so any swelling of this kind must be examined.
If the diagnosis is cancer, the disease can only be cured by the surgical removal of the affected gland. There is no need to remove both testicles (if only one testicle is affected), so the operation is unlikely to significantly affect potency or fertility. In order to remove all cancer cells, you will probably need a radiotherapy after the surgery, as well as cytostatics treatment. In rare cases, when neither radiotherapy nor medication are able to stop the progression of the disease, it will be necessary to remove some lymph nodes. Unfortunately, this type of operation (called lymphadenectomy) involves cutting of nerves that control the ejaculation, and the patient probably becomes infertile – although not impotent as he may still have erection and a ”dry” orgasm.