The testicles are organs of the male reproductive system responsible for the production of spermatozoa and certain hormones. They therefore play a fundamental role in the body.
The testicle can also be the site of cancer, following an alteration in the cells of the testicle that causes uncontrolled growth, resulting in the formation of a tumor mass.
Although it is a rare neoplasm, testicular cancer mainly affects men of full reproductive age, between 25 and 49 years of age.
With the help of Dr. Giovanni Lughezzani, urologist and andrologist in Humanitas, we get to know this neoplasm better.
Cryptorchidism, but not just that
Cryptorchidism, i.e. the failure of one or both testes to descend from the abdominal cavity in the scrotal sac, is the major risk factor for this type of tumor. However, an increasing number of cases are not linked to this condition, so that other causes, such as the influence of exogenous environmental factors, are assumed to be present.
The importance of self-palpation
There is no real prevention of this cancer. However, it is important to underline how fundamental it is for men to be more attentive to their own bodies and to any changes they may undergo. In the context of testicular cancer, self-palpation plays a fundamental role, to be performed once a month starting from adolescence and which consists of taking each testicle with the thumb, the index finger and the middle finger: the thumb will go on one side while the index finger and the middle on the other. Slide your fingers with small, rotating movements over the surface of the testicles. If you experience swelling or nodule, if you notice any abnormality in your skin, or if you experience pain, discomfort, or heaviness, consult your doctor.
A highly curable tumor
Testicle cancer is highly curable (95% of cases), but it is particularly important that it is detected early: in this case the chances of success are close to 100%. The treatment consists first of all in the removal of the testicle itself (orchifunicholectomy with possible positioning of testicular prosthesis), which allows a characterization of the neoplasm. Depending on the type of tumor and its spread, there are several therapeutic alternatives, ranging from active surveillance to chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
Are there risks to fertility?
In most cases, having a testicular cancer does not affect the possibility of having children in the future.
If only one testicle is affected and removed, the remaining testicle guarantees hormonal and reproductive functions.
If both testicles are affected and removed, the patient can undergo hormone replacement therapy and consider depositing their semen at one of the authorized semen banks.