Cancer of the testicle (also called the testis), a rare kind of cancer in men,
is a disease in which cancerous (malignant) cells develop in the tissues of
one or both testicles. There are two testicles located inside of the scrotum
(the sac of loose skin that lies directly under the penis). Sperm and male hormones
are made in the testicles.
There are three main types of testicular tumors, which develop in different
types of cells in the testicles. The most common type, called a germ cell tumor,
develops in the germ cells, the cells that produce sperm cells. About 90 percent
of testicular tumors are germ cell tumors.
Stromal cell tumors are much less common; they are cancers that start in the
hormone-producing cells in the testicles. There are several different subtypes
of germ cell and stromal cell tumors. A third type of testicular tumor, called
a secondary testicular tumor, is a tumor that results from cancer that has started
elsewhere in the body. Many of these tumors begin as lymphoma, particularly
in men over the age of 50.
The American Cancer Society predicts that there will be about 8,090 new cases of testicular cancer in the United States in 2008.
The doctor will examine the testicles and feel for lumps. If the scrotum doesn’t feel normal, the doctor may need to do an ultrasound examination, which uses sound waves to make a picture of the inside of the testes. Blood tests can also be used to look for proteins or enzymes that are typically secreted by certain types of tumors.
If a man has testicular cancer, the doctor will do more tests to find out if the cancer has spread from the testicle to other parts of the body.
Another treatment option available to some patients is to participate in a study of a new cancer treatment. Every successful cancer treatment being used today was first tested in a clinical trial, a three-step research process designed to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of new treatments for diseases.