An oncologist, Dr. Abisoye Abayomi, says testicular cancer is most common in men ages 20 to 35 while stressing that the risk factors include a history of undescended testis and male infertility.
Speaking during an interview with journalists over the weekend in Abuja, Abayomi said testicular cancer is curable, even when it has spread beyond the testicles.
Abayomi warned men within the age bracket to check their testicles and save their lives.
“Self-exam is an easy way to screen. Seek [out] a professional if you have concerns. Depending on the type and stage of testicular cancer, you may receive one of several treatments or a combination,” she said.
According to her, testicular cancer starts when cells in the testicles grow out of control and crowd out normal cells.
“Cancer can start any place in the body. Testicular cancer starts in the testicles, which make hormones and sperm in men.
“Cancer is always named for the place where it starts. So, when testicular cancer spreads to the lung (or any other place), it’s still called testicular cancer. It’s not called lung cancer unless it starts from cells in the lung,” she explained.
“Do not ignore a lump or swelling in the testicle. It is the most common symptom. Once heaviness or aching in the lower belly or testicles and voice changes and facial and body hair growth in a very young boy (early puberty) set in, [the testicles should be checked regularly].
“Massaging is the word, to be precise. Contrary to the belief, testicular cancer risk doesn’t increase due to any kind of injury to your testicles,” she said.
According to the expert, for most cases of testicular cancer, an identifiable cause cannot be fingered.
She said that makes it difficult to prevent, adding that there is a need for men to regularly examine themselves, as this would help them quickly notice when there is a problem.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) the incidence of testicular cancer is steadily rising. Globally, it is estimated that around 71,000 people were diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2018 with nearly 10,000 deaths.
There are different types of testicular cancers based on the particular cells affected.
The testicles (also called testes) are a part of the male reproductive system responsible for sperm production and storage. They are housed in the scrotal sac, below the penis and are also responsible for producing the hormone testosterone. The testicles are originally located in the abdomen but move down to the scrotum before birth because the abdomen is too hot for them.
Cancer occurs when cells grow in a disorderly fashion, ignoring signals to die and grow into nearby and distant areas. Testicular cancer is cancer affecting the testes. It may affect one or both at any time but is usually present in one.
While most cancers affecting the testes start from the testes (primary testicular tumours), cancers from nearby organs can also spread to the testes and infiltrate them (secondary spread). When compared with other types of cancer, testicular cancer is rare.