April is Testicular Cancer Awareness Month
April is testicular cancer month. Every April, the American Cancer Society raises awareness to encourage men between 20 and 35 to get tested for testicular cancer. When diagnosed quickly, it is one of the most treatable cancer types. Roughly 95% of all men that are diagnosed with testicular cancer survive past five years.
Although it is the most common cancer in young men, it is still rare. A man’s risk of getting testicular cancer is just 1 in 263 and the chance of dying from testicular cancer is just 1 in 5,000.
Yet even with great survival rates and prognosis, receiving a diagnosis of testicular cancer is scary and worrisome.
What is Testicular Cancer?
Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in young men and it begins in the cells of the testes. About 8,000 new cases of testicular cancer are diagnosed each year in the United States.
There are two types of testicular cancers: seminoma and non-seminoma. Seminoma grows slowly and is relatively immobile. It is estimated that between 30 and 40 percent of all testicular cancers are seminomas. Non-seminomas are a bit more aggressive. These tumors may grow quicker and treating non-seminomas may be a bit more complex.
The most common symptom of testicular cancer is a lump or swelling on one or both sides of the scrotum. Other symptoms may include pain or a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum, enlargement of one or both testicles, or a change in how the testicles feel. You may also notice a build-up of fluid on the scrotum or a dull ache in the lower abdomen.
How is Testicular Cancer Diagnosed?
If a physical exam or other symptoms give a physician reason to believe a patient might have testicular cancer, the following tests may be conducted to confirm the diagnosis:
- An ultrasound can show an image of a solid tumor
- Blood tests can reveal proteins known as tumor markers, including human chorionic gonadotropin, or alpha-fetoprotein that suggest a testicular tumor
- Surgery to remove a small piece of the tumor and perform a biopsy may be done for diagnostic purposes
Imaging tests use x-rays, radioactive substances, sound waves, and magnetic fields to create a picture that shows whether cancer has spread, whether treatments have been successful, or to determine if cancer has returned following chemotherapy or radiation treatments. Specifically:
- A CT scan can show whether cancer has spread to the liver, lungs, lymph nodes, or other organs
- An MRI scan can look at the brain and spinal cord to determine whether cancer has spread to those areas
- A PET scan can spot small groups of cancerous cells in the body and is often used to determine if the lymph nodes remain enlarged following chemotherapy
- Bone scans can determine whether testicular cancer has spread to the bones
If you’re concerned about possible symptoms of testicular cancer, it’s important to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis. Early detection is key in treating this type of cancer successfully. Many cases of testicular cancer are treated successfully with surgery to remove the cancerous tissue. In some cases, radiation therapy or chemotherapy may also be necessary.
Schedule Your Radiology Procedure Today
At ImageCare Radiology, we offer a variety of diagnostic imaging services to help diagnose and treat testicular cancer in young men. These imaging services include MRIs, CT Scans, and other imaging services. If your doctor has requested any type of imaging service to help you diagnose your issues, give us a call today at 973-871-3333 to schedule an appointment or complete our convenient online appointment request form.