Why Does Testicular Cancer Happen?
Cancer cells can grow in any part of the body, and cancer is named according to the place it starts and grows.Testicular cancer cells start in a man's testicles. This cancer begins when the testicles' cells start growing out of control, thus crowding the healthy and normal cells. This makes it harder for the testicles to perform their normal functions.
Cancerous cells can spread and grow in other parts of the body. Testicular cancer cells can also travel to the lungs and start growing there. This movement is known as metastasis. To medical professionals, the cancer cells that metastasize look exactly like the original ones.
Types of Testicular Cancer
Testicles contain many types of cells, and all of them can potentially become cancerous. The treatment will depend on the kind of testicle cancer you have. Your healthcare provider should explain the type of cancer you have and the proposed treatment.
Most cancers in the testicles start from cells that make a man's sperm. Below are the two most common testicular cancers in men:
1. Non-seminomas: These are tumors that often develop in younger men, especially in their teens up to the early 30s.
2. Seminomas: These are tumors that continually develop and spread at a slower rate than other testicular cancers.
What Are the Causes of Testicular Cancer?
Scientists are not clear what exactly causes testicular cancer. However, they know that cancer develops when the healthy cells in the testicles are altered.
Healthy and normal cells develop, grow, and split up systematically to ensure the body is functioning normally. However, when cells in the testicles develop particular abnormalities and start to grow uncontrollably, they form testicular cancer.
Cancerous cells overgrow even when division is not required. This leads to a mass of accumulated overgrown cells in the testicles that may feel like a lump.
Risk Factors of Testicular Cancer
While doctors are not sure what causes cancer, these are factors that might increase a person's risk of testicular cancer:
1. Cryptorchidism or undescended testicle
When a fetus is developing in the womb, their testes are formed in their abdominal area. They typically descend into their scrotum right before birth. If you have an undescended testicle, you might be at greater risk of cancer than men whose testes naturally descended.
This risk is still significant even when you get the testicles surgically repositioned in your scrotum. However, it's essential to note that most testicular cancer cases in men happen to those who have never had a history of undescended testicles.
2. Abnormal development of the testicle
Conditions such as Klinefelter syndrome that may hinder the normal development of testicles increase the risk of testicular cancer in men.
3. A family history of cancer
Look at your family history. If any of your family has suffered from testicular cancer, your chances of developing this type of cancer are increased.
While testicular cancer can occur at any age, it often affects men between the ages of 15-35.
Testicular cancer is more common in white men than in black men.
If You Suspect You May Have Testicular Cancer
If you feel pain, lumps, and swelling in your groin area and testicles that last more than two weeks, seek expert advice. The earlier this cancer is caught and treated, the better your prognosis will be. During your appointment, you should ask your doctor the following questions:
- Why do you suspect I have testicular cancer?
- What are the chances that I do not have testicular cancer?
- Can you write down and explain the types of cancer you think I might have?
- What tests do I need?
- When will I get the results?
There is no proven way to prevent testicular cancer. However, most healthcare providers and experts recommend that men regularly self-examine their testicles for early detection. If you are worried, have a discussion with your doctor for guidance on self-examination.
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