Can Testicular Cancer Be Prevented?
As we continue with Testicular Cancer Awareness Month, in this edition of the Cancer Pro blog: we’re asking the questions Can You Prevent Testicular Cancer (TC) and what are the various ways it can be diagnosed?
Can you prevent testicular cancer?
Unfortunately, like most cancers, there is no way to prevent TC, but a simple monthly self-examination will allow a person to identify TC in its earliest stage.
The Testicular Cancer Society (TCS) recommends a monthly testicular self-examination to identify any changes in the testicles. This self-check includes the following easy to follow steps:
- After a warm shower or bath, and because the scrotum likely will be relaxed at this point, examine the scrotum and check for any swelling on the skin. It’s probably easiest to do this in front of a mirror.
- Use both hands to examine each testicle. First, place the index and middle fingers under the testicle and place the thumbs on top of it. Then, firmly but gently move the testicle between the thumb and fingers; this allows you to feel for any irregularities on the testicle’s surface or texture.
- Next, evaluate the back of the testicle and look for the epididymis; this is a soft, rope-like structure on the back of the testicle. During your evaluation, check for anything that you think does not look or feel right.
This monthly TC self-check doesn’t take long to complete. If you notice any testicular irregularities during a self-examination, make sure to contact your doctor because there is no guarantee that a testicular abnormality is cancerous. It is always better to be safe than sorry later.
By meeting with a doctor early, you can determine whether a testicular irregularity is cancerous or not and choose the best way for it to be treated.
How Is Testicular Cancer Diagnosed?
As a result of a self-check, men sometimes discover TC. In other instances, a doctor may find a lump on a man’s testicle during a physical examination.
As a result, the doctor may recommend one or more of the following tests to provide an accurate TC diagnosis:
- Ultrasound: An ultrasound involves the use of sound waves to visualise the scrotum and testicles. During an ultrasound, the patient must lie on their back and keep their legs spread apart. Then, the doctor applies a clear gel to the scrotum, and he or she moves a small, handheld probe over the scrotum to produce an ultrasound image. A doctor may use an ultrasound to determine if a testicular lump is present. If a testicular swelling is discovered, an ultrasound can be used to determine whether the lump is a solid mass or fluid-filled and if it is located inside or outside the testicle.
- Blood Tests: Blood tests enable a doctor to assess tumour markers’ levels in the blood; these markers are substances that occur naturally in the blood but may be elevated due to TC or other factors. If a man has a high level of a tumour marker in the blood, it does not necessarily mean that they have TC. However, it will help a doctor provide a correct TC diagnosis.
- Radical Orchiectomy: Designed to help a doctor provide a definitive TC diagnosis, radical orchiectomy is an outpatient procedure. During a radical orchiectomy, a doctor will make a small incision in the groin. Doing this enables a doctor to analyse and remove the testicle suspected of harbouring cancer cells. If cancer cells are discovered, the doctor will perform additional analysis to determine the exact cell type or types and optimal treatment option.
If you receive a TC diagnosis, a physician will likely order additional tests to determine the disease stage. These tests help a doctor find out whether cancer cells have spread to other areas of the body. While a TC diagnosis is serious, it doesn’t always mean it is a hopeless situation. There are many cancer treatments available, and you and your doctor can work together to overcome TC.
Testicular Cancer is one of the most treatable cancers.
Remember, Testicular Cancer is one of the most treatable cancers. So if you suspect you’re dealing with TC, don’t wait to get help. Schedule a doctor’s appointment immediately, and you can take the first step to receive TC diagnosis and the necessary treatment.
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