June is Men’s Health Month and a good opportunity to highlight health conditions, which are important to understand and discuss with your health care provider. Testicular cancer is one of the leading causes of death in men in the United States and is the most common cancer in men between the ages of 15 and 34. Testicular cancer occurs in the testicles, which are located inside the scrotum. The good news is testicular cancer is highly treatable and annual examinations can help detect testicular cancer early.
Symptoms of testicular cancer are:
- A dull ache in the abdomen or groin
- Enlargement or tenderness of the breasts
- A lump or enlargement in either testicle
- A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
- A sudden collection of fluid in the scrotum
- Pain or discomfort in a testicular or the scrotum
It’s not exactly clear what causes testicular cancer, but it typically occurs when healthy cells in the testicle become altered. If cells develop abnormally, the growth of cells can become out of control and cancer cells can continue dividing even though they are not needed. This can cause a mass in the testicles to form and cause testicular cancer.
There are several risk factors for testicular cancer. These include:
- Abnormal testicular development: Testicles that have developed abnormally may increase the risk for testicular cancer.
- Family history: If you have a family history of testicular cancer, you may be more likely to get testicular cancer.
- Race: Testicular cancer is more likely to develop in white males.
- Age: Testicular cancer is more likely to affect men between the ages of 15 to 34, but it can occur at any age.
- An undescended testicle: Men who have had a testicular that has never descended are at a greater risk to develop testicular cancer, although most men who get testicular cancer do not have a history of an undescended testicle.
If you have any symptoms listed above or have any concerns about testicular cancer, see your health care provider immediately. Testicular cancer is highly treatable and early detection is key to best outcomes.