A men’s health issue that Malaysian men seem reluctant to discuss is testicular cancer. The majority of testicular cancers can be detected early on as early testicular cancers can cause symptoms in some men, prompting them to seek medical help. The first symptom is usually a lump on the testicle, or the testicle may be swollen or larger than normal. Some testicular cancers, on the other hand, can not show symptoms until they’ve progressed to an advanced stage. Just like a bald spot, the earlier one finds the issue, the faster one can deal with it.
After puberty, some physicians suggest that all men check their testicles monthly. This section contains instructions for testicular tests, which each man must determine for himself whether or not to do. If you have such risk factors for testicular cancer (such as an an undescended testicle, a prior germ cell tumor in one testicle, or family history), you should consider doing monthly self-exams and talking to your doctor about it.
The male gland known as a testicle or testis is where testicular cancer begins (two are called testicles, or testes). Though it can affect men and boys of any age, it is most common in men between the ages of 15 and 44. It’s a relatively uncommon condition that’s still really treatable. Testicular cancer can be cured if detected early as the risk of death from this cancer is low if it is treated.
The safest time to inspect the testicles is during or after a bath or shower when the skin of the scrotum is relaxed. Examine each testicle separately when keeping the penis out of the way. Use both hands to hold your testicle between the finger and the thumb. Carefully move it between your fingers to feel for any abnormalities.
Examine the testicles for any hard lumps or nodules (smooth rounded masses) or any changes in scale, shape, or consistency.
It’s common for one testicle to be slightly larger and hang lower than the other. Each normal testicle also has a thin, coiled tube called the epididymis, which may feel like a small bump on the upper or middle outer side of the testis. Blood vessels, supporting tissues, and sperm tubes are all found in normal testicles. At first, some men can mistake these for odd lumps. Make sure to check with your doctor if you have any questions.
Other than cancer, a testicle may grow in size for a variety of reasons. A hydrocele, for example, is formed when fluid collects around the testicle. Alternatively, the testicle’s veins can dilate, resulting in enlargement and lumpiness around the testicle known as a varicocele. If your testicle seems to be bigger than normal, see a doctor to ensure you don’t have one of these symptoms rather than a tumor. An ultrasound examination can be ordered by the doctor (see Tests for Testicular Cancer). This is a simple and painless method of locating a tumor. If you study your testicles regularly, you will learn what is normal and what is abnormal. Any changes should be immediately reported to your doctor.
It’s likely the risk factors for testicular cancer can’t be avoided. The best strategy is to capture it as soon as possible. The men who are most at risk are:
- Men who had a father or brother who had testicular cancer are at a higher risk.
- Men with a history of non-dropping testes before childbirth (also known as undescended testes or cryptorchidism)
- Germ cell neoplasia in situ (GCNIS) is a type of abnormal cell located in the testicle that is most commonly discovered during an infertility test.
If you fall into any of these categories, you can conduct a monthly testicular self-examination. The self-exam can assist you in detecting problems early on when treatment is more straightforward.
Testicular Cancer Stages
Stage 0: Also known as “Germ Cell Neoplasia In Situ (GCNIS)”. This isn’t cancer, but rather a sign that cancer can spread. The seminal tubules are the only place where GCNIS can be located.
Stage I (IA, IB, IS): Cancer only affects the testes. It hasn’t spread to any lymph nodes in the region.
Stage II (IIA, IIB, IIC): Cancer has spread to one or more lymph nodes in the abdomen. It hasn’t spread to any other body pieces.
Stage III (IIIA, IIB, IIC): Cancer has spread beyond the lymph nodes in the abdomen. Cancer can be located in places other than the testicles, such as lymph nodes or the lungs. The levels of tumor markers are high.
Some men have a higher risk of cancers like testicular cancer while others are relatively lower on the risk spectrum. Either way, it’s very important that men change their mindset about consistent checkups for all types of cancer. A self-check of one’s own testicles might be a good step in that direction.
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