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- Signs, diagnosis and symptoms of testicular cancer in men. How does testicular cancer manifest in men and how to identify it?
Many men, reaching middle age, can boast that they have never visited a doctor in their entire life. Among the fair sex such cases are much smaller. This is explained by the fact that the genitals in women need constant attention, sexually transmitted diseases affect them much more often. After several years of such trouble-free life, men still decide on a rectal examination, which is often compared with the end of youth. Moreover, the stronger sex, as a rule, does not attach much importance to the visit to the specialist. However, just such a late visit often ends with the fact that a man is diagnosed with quite serious illnesses requiring competent treatment. One of these quite dangerous diseases is testicular cancer. Photos of this pathology can be viewed in specialized medical reference books. In more detail about it we will also tell 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, disorders at the endocrine system level, radiation exposure, mechanical damage to the scrotum.
In cancer statistics, signs of testicular cancer in men are diagnosed in no more than 2% of cases. It is important to note that the disease is aggressive. Among the representatives of the stronger sex younger than 35 years old, this ailment is often the cause of early death.
In a third of cases, the primary symptoms are diagnosed in small boys. In 90% of them the reason lies in the malignancy of a benign tumor - teratoma. She, in turn, appears due to developmental disorders in the prenatal period.
Testicular cancer: causes
Today, the exact reasons for the development of this kind of pathology, as well as other oncological diseases, are unknown. However, experts agree on 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 fetal development 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 in whom the testicle is located directly in the abdominal cavity.
Who is at risk?
According to experts, if even in childhood a corrective operation was performed, the testicular cancer in men already in adulthood can still be diagnosed. Among the main progenitor factors that increase the risk of developing this pathology are the following:
- Hereditary predisposition
- Kleinfelter syndrome (damage to the sex chromosomes at the genetic level).
- Underdevelopment of the genitals.
- Inclusion of scar tissue in the testicles at the congenital level.
- Permanent mechanical effect.
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, pain;
- increase in the usual size of the testicle.
At the onset of the disease, the symptoms of testicular cancer in men are almost completely absent. Then the patient finds in one of them a small seal. The body begins to rapidly increase in size, discomfort and even soreness appear. It is important to note that the malignant tumor itself rarely causes pain. It occurs only after the tumor completely captures the spermatic cord.
At the next stage of the development of pathology, testicular deformity and an increase in their density is 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 easily be felt directly in the inguinal canal. Otherwise, if it is localized in the abdominal zone, the tumor can grow to a considerable size. 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 is, 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, back pain is associated with constant compression of the nerve roots by retroperitoneal lymph nodes, which also increase in size. Swelling of the legs occurs due to overlap of metastases of the inferior vena cava. Symptoms of testicular cancer in men can even include manifestations of renal failure. This is due to compression of the ureters by the tumor.
Some forms of this disease entail hormonal changes. In adult patients, they manifest as impotence and decreased libido. Boys in adolescence may develop gynecomastia, hirsutism (excess body hair growth), voice mutation.
Testicular tumors can be of two types:
- Germinogenic (grown from epithelium) - seminoma, teratoblastoma, chorionepithelioma.
- Non-herminogenic (developed from the main tissues) - leydigoma, sarcoma, sertolioma.
Herminogenic variant of the tumor (seminoma) occurs most often. Seminoma is diagnosed in 50% of men suffering from cancer. This tumor is formed as a compacted nodule. As a rule, it grows rather slowly and is not accompanied by complications in the form of bleeding. Seminoma metastases primarily affect the lungs, lymph nodes and bones.
Stages of cancer
Currently, there are several stages of the disease. Thanks to this separation, doctors have the opportunity to classify testicular cancer in men as accurately as possible, and then to prescribe the appropriate treatment.
- The first stage. The neoplasm is located in the testicle, does not go beyond its limits, there are no metastases.
- Second stage Metastasis of the tumor is localized in the retroperitoneal nodes.
- The third and fourth stages. Metastases penetrate distant organs and lymph nodes.
Another international classification of the disease, TNM, is known, according to which the main cancer parameters are indicated by a specific letter (T is the characteristic of the tumor itself, N is the description of the lymph nodes, M0 is the absence of metastases, M1 is the presence of distant metastases).
For the successful treatment of this disease is very important to diagnose it in a timely manner. How to determine testicular cancer?
- Physical examination of the patient, including palpation of the scrotum itself.
- Laboratory studies (LDH, BHG, AFP). Based on the concentration level of the so-called tumor markers, the doctor assesses the effectiveness of the current treatment, and also predicts the course of the illness.
- Scrotal examination with diaphanoscopy. This method implies a scanning of the affected area by a narrow beam of light. The doctor assesses whether it is evenly translucent. If the scrotal tissue practically does not transmit light, we can speak about the presence of a malignant neoplasm.
- Radiography of the lungs in order to detect the presence of metastases.
- Ultrasound examination of the scrotum and pelvic organs.
- CT scan of the chest and abdomen.
- Osteoscintigraphy of skeletal bones.
The final diagnosis is made on the basis of the results of the biopsy of the testicular tissue itself. Analysis of the biopsy under a microscope allows you to accurately determine the specific type of tumor, as well as to predict the rate of spread of pathology.
How to independently recognize the disease?
First of all, it is recommended to look at what testicular cancer looks like in men. Photos of the affected organs are available in specialized directories. Thus, if there are any abnormalities, the patient should immediately consult a doctor.
It is important to note that healthy testicles should be approximately the same size, but one always hangs below the other. Otherwise, a man could not put his legs together.
Doctors advise you to examine yourself monthly, and in a warm room. The thing is that in the cold scrotum shrinks quite strongly. Inspection while taking a shower is considered ideal. The testicles should feel like hard boiled chicken eggs, and the size should be about 4 cm in diameter. Bodies should not be ill. Any discomfort during the inspection can be interpreted as a deviation from the norm.
What does testicular cancer look like? Feeling the back upper part of the organ, you can easily find its appendage - a thin cord. Any mass attached to it can be regarded as a neoplasm (most often benign). In any case, if you find any abnormality, you should immediately consult a doctor. He will prescribe an additional diagnostic examination, and then, if necessary, therapy.
With this disease, it is complex and implies the removal of the tumor focus, the medical resection of the lymph nodes, as well as the systemic chemotherapeutic effect on all atypical cells.
Surgical treatment is the complete removal of the affected area along with the appendage. If during the operation metastases are found in the peritoneal space, retroperitoneal lymphadenectomy is performed.
After surgery, the patient is sent for chemotherapy. It implies the administration of intravenous injections and the use of special preparations ("Iofosfamid", "Cisplatin", "Vinblastine"), which affects the whole body. Taking into account the fact that cancer cells are characterized by a high level of metabolism, first of all they are directly destroyed.
In some cases, radiation exposure is additionally recommended. For large tumor sizes, this method of treatment is used at the preoperative stage.
The sooner the disease is diagnosed, the more effective the therapy will be and the probability of a positive outcome of the disease will increase significantly. According to experts, timely treatment allows the patient to live five years or more (in 90% of cases). With the appearance of metastases, survival is reduced to 72%.