Testicular Cancer

 

 

Overview

Testicular cancer can affect one or both testicles, which are part of the male reproductive system. Testicles are contained within the scrotum, which hangs beneath the penis. Testicles manufacture male hormones and produce sperm.

Testicular cancer is relatively uncommon in the United States. In 2007, the American Cancer Society estimates that about 8,200 men in the United States will be diagnosed with testicular cancer. Most cases of testicular cancer can be found at an early, highly treatable stage. The five-year survival rate for localized testicular cancer is 99 percent; the five-year survival rate for all stages combined is 96 percent.

At The Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center, our specialized Division of Urologic Oncology focuses on cancers of the male reproductive system, including testicular cancer. We feature the following unique and innovative services:

  • board-certified urologists and medical oncologists, who are highly skilled in treating testicular cancer both medically and surgically, with state-of-the-art technology and surgical techniques
  • sophisticated diagnostic testing and imaging studies
  • clinical trials to investigate new medications and treatment methods
  • a full range of support services

 

Risk Factors

esticular cancer usually occurs in patients between ages 15 to 44, but it can strike any male, even infants and elderly men. Caucasians are five to 10 times more likely to develop testicular cancer than African-Americans.
 
 

Symptoms

In about 90 percent of cases, men have a painless or an uncomfortable lump on a testicle, or the testicle may be enlarged or swollen. There may be heaviness or aching in the lower abdomen or scrotum. Tumors that produce estrogen may cause breast growth, breast tenderness, and/or loss of sexual desire. Tumors that produce androgen can cause growth of facial and body hair at an abnormally young age in boys. Lower back pain is a frequent symptom of late-stage testicular cancer.
 
 

Treatment Services

The testicles contain several types of cells, each of which may develop into one or more types of cancer. Your prognosis and treatment will be based on which type of cancer you have. More than 90 percent of testicular cancers develop in germ cells; the two main types of germ cell tumors are called seminomas and non-seminomas. Four percent of testicular tumors are stromal tumors, which develop in the supportive and hormone-producing tissues (stroma) of the testicles. Secondary testicular tumors start in another organ and then spread to the testicles. Lymphoma and cancers of the prostate, lung, skin (melanoma), kidney, and other organs can spread to the testicles.

Treatment for testicular cancer may include surgery, chemotherapy, stem cell transplantation, and/or radiation therapy. A combination of treatment methods may be the best approach for you.

Surgery

Most testicular cancers are treated by radical orchiectomy (surgical removal of the affected testicle through the groin). If the cancer has spread, removal of the lymph nodes may also be performed. In order to preserve fertility, nerves in the area, and the ability to ejaculate, a modified type of lymph node surgery may be performed.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is routinely used to treat testicular cancer, especially if it has spread to lymph nodes. Chemotherapy may sometimes be used in combination with surgery and/or radiation therapy. Oncologists at The Cancer Center use a variety of chemotherapeutic medications to treat testicular cancer. There are a number of ongoing clinical trials offering patients the latest chemotherapeutic advances for testicular cancer. Chemotherapy may also be combined with stem cell transplantation to treat testicular cancer.

Stem Cell Transplantation

Stem cell transplantation may be used in combination with other treatment methods for testicular cancer. Stem cell transplantation is a highly advanced treatment that is available at only a small number of hospitals in New Jersey. The Cancer Center's Blood and Marrow Stem Cell Transplantation Program is one of the 10 largest programs in the United States, offering this potentially life-saving treatment to more than 200 patients each year.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is mainly used to kill testicular cancer cells that have spread to the lymph nodes.