- Signs, diagnosis and symptoms of testicular cancer in men. How does testicular cancer appear in men and how to identify it?
Many men, reaching middle age, can boast of having never visited a doctor in their entire life. Among the fair sex, such cases are much less. This is because the sexual organs in women need constant attention, venereal diseases affect them much more often. After several years of such a problem-free life, men still decide on rectal examination, which is often compared with the end of youth. Moreover, a strong sex, as a rule, does not attach special importance to a visit to a specialist. However, it is such a belated visit often ends with the fact that a man diagnoses a fairly serious ailments that require competent treatment. One of these rather dangerous diseases is testicular cancer. Photos of this pathology can be seen in specialized medical reference books. We will discuss this in more detail in this article.
Description of the disease
Testicular cancer is a relatively rare disease. The main causes of this pathology in adult men include cryptorchidism, violations at the level of the endocrine system, exposure to radiation, mechanical damage to the scrotum.
In the statistics of oncological diseases, testicular cancer in men is diagnosed in no more than 2% of cases. It is important to note that the disease is aggressive. Among the stronger sex younger than 35 years, this ailment often causes an early death.
In a third of cases, primary symptoms are diagnosed in small boys. In 90% of them, the cause lies in the malignancy of a benign tumor - the teratoma. It, in turn, appears as a result of developmental disorders in the prenatal period.
Testicular Cancer: Causes
Today, the exact causes of the development of this type of pathology, as well as other cancer diseases, are unknown. However, experts agree in a single opinion about the main factor provoking the development of the disease, cryptorchidism. This is a special condition, in which the testicle does not descend into the scrotum during intrauterine development of the fetus or in the first few months of the baby's life. It simply remains in the so-called inguinal canal or even in the abdominal cavity itself. Most often, oncology is diagnosed in those patients whose testicles are localized directly in the abdominal cavity.
Who is at risk?
According to experts, even if a child underwent a corrective operation in childhood, testicular cancer in men already in adulthood can still be diagnosed. Among the main precursor factors that increase the risk of this pathology, the following are called:
- Hereditary predisposition.
- Klinefelter's syndrome (defeat of sexual chromosomes at the genetic level).
- Underdevelopment of the reproductive organs.
- Inclusion of scar tissue in the testes at the innate level.
- Permanent mechanical action.
The main symptoms of testicular cancer in men are as follows:
- slight compaction in the affected area;
- accumulation of fluid in the scrotum;
- constant discomfort, painful sensations;
- an increase in the usual size of the testicle.
At the very beginning of the disease, the symptoms of testicular cancer in men are almost completely absent. The patient then discovers a small seal in one of them. The body begins to increase rapidly in size, there is discomfort and even soreness. It is important to note that the malignant tumor itself rarely causes pain syndrome. It occurs only after the tumor completely captures the spermatic cord.
At the next stage of development of pathology, deformity of the testicles and an increase in their density are observed. Due to the constant accumulation of fluid, the damaged part of the scrotum begins to increase in size. If the testicle does not descend, the tumor can be easily probed directly in the inguinal canal. Otherwise, if it is localized in the abdominal area, the tumor can grow to a considerable extent. There are cases when it occupied about half of the entire cavity.
Further symptoms of testicular cancer in men are associated with the formation of metastases. This, first of all, shortness of breath, severe pain in the back and groin, a feeling of discomfort in the leg, swelling. All these clinical signs are very easily explained.
For example, pain in the back is associated with a constant squeezing of the nerve roots by retroperitoneal lymph nodes, which also increase in size. Swelling of the legs occurs as a result of metastases overlapping the inferior vena cava. Symptoms of testicular cancer in men can include even manifestations of kidney failure. This is due to the compression of the ureter by the neoplasm.
Some forms of this disease cause changes at the hormonal level. In adult patients, they manifest themselves in the form of impotence and decreased libido. Boys in adolescence can develop gynecomastia, hirsutism (excessive hair covering of the integument), mutation of the voice.
Testicular tumors can be of two types:
- Germinogenic (grow from the epithelium) - seminoma, teratoblastoma, chorionepithelioma.
- Non-germogenic (develop from the basic tissues) - leidigoma, sarcoma, sertolio.
The germogenic variant of a tumor (seminoma) occurs most often. Seminoma is diagnosed in 50% of men with cancer. This tumor is formed as a compacted nodule. As a rule, it grows quite slowly and is not accompanied by complications in the form of bleeding. Seminoma metastases mainly affect the lungs, lymph nodes and bones.
Stages of cancer
Currently, several stages of the disease are allocated. Thanks to this division, doctors have the opportunity to classify testicular cancer in men as accurately as possible, and then to prescribe appropriate treatment.
- The first stage. Neoplasm is in the testicle, does not go beyond it, there are no metastases.
- The second stage. The tumor metastases are localized in the retroperitoneal nodes.
- The third and fourth stages. Metastases penetrate into distant organs and lymph nodes.
Another international classification of the disease is known, TNM, according to which the main parameters of cancer are indicated by a certain letter (T is the characteristic of the tumor itself, N is the description of the state of the lymph nodes, M0 is the absence of metastases, and M1 is the presence of distant metastases).
For the successful treatment of this disease, it is very important to diagnose it in a timely manner. How to identify testicular cancer?
- Physical examination of the patient, including palpation of the scrotum itself.
- Laboratory studies (LDH, BHG, AFP). Based on the level of concentration of so-called tumor markers, the doctor evaluates the effectiveness of current treatment, and also predicts the course of the disease.
- Study of the scrotum by diaphanoscopy. This method implies the transmission of the affected area through a narrow beam of light. The doctor assesses whether it is uniformly translucent. If the scrotum tissue does not pass light, you can talk about the presence of malignant neoplasm.
- Radiography of the lungs in order to detect the presence of metastases.
- Ultrasound examination of the scrotum, as well as of the pelvic organs.
- CT of the chest and abdominal cavity.
- Osteoscintigraphy of bones of the skeleton.
The final diagnosis is established based on the results of tissue biopsy of the testis itself. The analysis of the biopsy under the microscope allows you to accurately determine the specific type of tumor, as well as predict the speed of the pathology.
How to recognize the disease on your own?
First of all it is recommended to see what testicular cancer looks like in men. Photo of the affected organs is available in specialized reference books. Therefore, if there are any abnormalities, the patient should immediately seek medical advice.
It is important to note that healthy testicles should be approximately the same in size, but one always hangs below the other. Otherwise, a man could not put his feet together.
Doctors advise to inspect yourself monthly, and in a warm room. The thing is that in the cold the scrotum shrinks quite strongly. An ideal option is an examination during the shower. Eggs should feel like eggs boiled boiled eggs, and the size should be about 4 cm in diameter. Organs should not be sick. Any discomfort during examination can be interpreted as a deviation from the norm.
What does testicular cancer look like? Feeling the upper back of the organ, you can easily detect its appendage - a thin cord. Any mass attached to it can be regarded as a neoplasm (most often benign). In any case, if there is any deviation from the norm, you should immediately consult a doctor. He will prescribe an additional diagnostic examination, and afterwards if necessary - therapy.
It is complex in this disease and implies removal of the tumor focus, therapeutic resection of the lymph nodes, as well as a systemic chemotherapeutic effect on all atypical cells.
Surgical treatment is the complete removal of the affected area together with the appendage. If metastases are found during the operation in the peritoneal space, retroperitoneal lymphadenectomy is performed.
After surgery, the patient is referred for chemotherapy. It involves the introduction of intravenous injections and the use of special drugs ("Iofosfamid", "Cisplatinum", "Vinblastine"), which affects the entire body. Taking into account the fact that cancer cells are distinguished by a high level of metabolism, first of all they themselves are destroyed directly.
In some cases, radiation exposure is additionally recommended. With a large tumor size, this method of treatment is used at the preoperative stage.
The earlier the disease is diagnosed, the more effective the therapy will be and the probability of a positive outcome of the disease will increase substantially. According to experts, timely treatment allows the patient to live for five years or more (in 90% of cases). When metastases appear, survival is reduced to 72%.