20090601.jpgCertain men should be more aware of their risk of developing testicular cancer. Men with cryptorchidism (an undescended testicle), abnormal testicle development, and family history should talk with their physician about their individual risk of testicular cancer. Unlike many other cancers, testicular cancer affects men on the younger side, most commonly targeting men between the ages of 15 and 34. For unknown reasons, Caucasian men are at greater risk than men of other races.

Warning signs include changes such as a lump or swelling in the scrotum. If any lump is found, physicians will perform an ultrasound of the testes to determine if the lump may be cancerous. Other tests, such as the CT and PET scans, check for signs of cancer in the abdomen and lymph nodes to determine the stage of cancer and whether the cancer has spread. All stages of testicular cancer are usually treated with surgery. Physicians may suggest additional treatment with radiation and chemotherapy depending if the cancer has spread to distant sites as well as other factors.

Since treatment options may include surgery, men may wonder about the most common fear associated with testicular cancer: the removal of a testicle. Men should know that sexual functions, including sperm production, are still possible if only one testicle is removed. If both are removed, the man will be infertile but can still be sexually active with the help of testosterone supplements. Similar to women who opt to have breast implants as breast cancer survivors, not only for physical appearances, but also to regain a sense of femininity, men may elect to have a testicular implant. AFCR stresses that men should talk with a physician about the various risk factors involved with this surgery as a precaution.