​Testicular Cancer

Testicular cancer is the uncontrolled growth of harmful cancerous cells in the male sex glands. These glands (called testicles) are the two round shaped objects located in the skin sac under the penis, and are responsible for producing the male sex hormones and sperm for reproduction.

Testicular cancer is easily treatable, if diagnosed early by routine self-examination.

Factors such as family history, birth abnormalities of the testicles, race and age play an important role in increasing the risk of this form of cancer

Symptoms for testicular cancer may include heaviness or sudden collection of fluid in the scrotum, overgrowth in one of the testicles, breast enlargement, back ache and light abdominal pain. 
If you experience any of the symptoms above for longer than a few weeks, you should see your doctor or consult the physicians from the Kidney and Bladder Service LIne at the Aga Khan University Hospital. The symptoms of testicular cancer may resemble those of other penile diseases. An accurate diagnosis is necessary for proper treatment. For expert analysis, you can also consult doctors workign with the Oncology Service Line.

Your time with your doctor maybe limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started.

Testicular cancer can occur in multiple stages. These stages are usually divided into three different categories, each differing in the severity and spread of the disease. If the cancer is limited to the testicle, it is considered stage one. If it has spread to lymph nodes, it is said to have entered stage two. If the spread is beyond the lymph nodes, the cancer is classified as stage three.

Tests for testicular cancer aim not only to determine its presence but also the progressive stage as well. 

The tests used for the detection of the cancer usually involve a physical exam followed by blood tests. These tests aim to determine any abnormalities in the tumour marker levels in your blood. A high level might be indicative of testicular cancer. If the blood tests hint at the possibility of cancer, an ultrasound might follow. This helps obtain images of the testicle which then help determine if the lumps are inside the testicle and if they are solid or made up of fluid. If the ultrasound also hints at cancer, your affected testicle might be surgically removed and analysed in the lab for a conclusive diagnosis.

Once testicular cancer is confirmed, the type of cancer would be determined next. This could be either seminoma or non-seminoma. The former category is relatively easier to treat, whereas the latter is more aggressive, develops early in the patient's life span and spreads rapidly.

The last diagnosis step is aimed at determining the cancer stage. Blood tests are again used to determine the tumour markers. Computerized tomography (CT) scan might follow in order to gauge the spread of the cancer to the chest, pelvis and abdominal area.

There are multiple treatment options available for testicular cancer.

One of the most widely known options is that of chemotherapy. It involves stopping the growth of cancerous cells via drugs. The drug is administered in different ways depending on the stage of cancer being dealt with. Oral intake or direct injection in the vein leads to the drug spreading throughout the body. Administering the drug to a specific location treats cancerous growth in that particular area. The former procedure is called systemic chemotherapy whereas the latter is known as regional chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy is known to have side effects that impact one's quality of life. These include loss of hair, fatigue and permanent inability to conceive. 

Another therapy makes use of high energy X-rays and radiation to kill cancer cells. If the radiation is targeted in the body from an external machine, the process is called external radiation therapy. Alternatively, internal radiation therapy can also be used by implanting radioactive needles or catheters in the effected region.

Testicular cancer can also be treated surgically if the aim is to physically remove the affected testicle. In certain cases, removal of the nearby lymph nodes might also be needed. Both procedures are invasive, requiring incisions to remove the targeted area.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.
The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.
The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments' costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.

The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.