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Testicular Cancer

Testicular Cancer, Cancer

Just over a decade earlier, diagnosis of testicular cancer was depressing news. But striking progress in therapeutic drugs in the last quarter of twentieth century, together with better diagnostics and improved tests to measure the degree of the disease, have resulted in increased survival rates extraordinarily. The death ratio of patients was ten times as compared to current statistics. Presently, testicular cancer usually is fully curable, particularly if diagnosed and treated at early stage.

According to the National Cancer Institute, cancer of the testicles is reported for around only 1 percent of all cancers in men. In 1995, approximately 7,000 American men were estimated to get the disease, with some over 300 deaths expected. Still, among men aged 15 to 34, it is ranked as the most occurred cancer. For unfamiliar reasons, white men are four times more likely to carry this disease than black men. (van den Eeden and Weiss, 1989)

The Food and Drug Administration has permitted several medicines to treat testicular cancer, which include Ilex (ifosamide), Vepesid (etoposide), Velban (vinblastine sulfate), Blenoxane (bleomycin sulfate), and Platinol (cisplatin).

Several medical professionals consider Platinol as the "magic bullet" for curing specific forms of testicular cancer. FDA permitted the platinum-based drug for use post-surgery or post-radio therapy. Platinol is generally used in blend with other chemotherapy drugs.
These drugs have aided cut testicular cancer's death rate and boost its treatment rate as well, many patients "respond very nicely" to platinum-based drug treatments, which are successful even when cancer has spread beyond the testicle. About 70 percent of men with advanced testicular cancer can be cured, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Detection and Diagnosis

Most testicular cancers are found by patients themselves either accidentally, or while carrying out self-examination. The general appearance is of an engorged, painless swelling. The swelling normally is pea-sized, but at times it grows as big as a marble or even an egg.
Apart from swellings, if a man observes any other abnormality an engorged testicle, a sense of bulk or sudden collection of juice in the scrotum, a tedious pain in the lower abdomen or groin, or engorgement or softness of the breasts--he should consult a physician immediately. These symptoms can be due to situations other than cancer. It is important to look for consultation without delay.
Physicians have a variety of techniques to assist diagnose testicular cancer. Often a physical examination can remove disorders other than cancer. Imaging methods can help identify possibility of cancers.

One of imaging techniques is ultrasound, in which a picture is created from echoes of high-frequency sound waves rebound from internal organs.
However, there is only one encouraging way for a pathologist to diagnose a cancer. This is to inspect a tissue sample under a microscope. Doctors acquire the tissue by taking away the whole affected testicle through the groin, a technique known as inguinal orchiectomy. Surgeons do not cut through the scrotum or take a part of the testicle, for the reason that if cancer is there, a cut through the outer layer of the testicle may result in spread of disease internally. In addition to facilitating diagnosis, testicle removal can as well stop further growth of the primary cancer.

Almost all testicular cancers have the roots in germ cells, the particular sperm-forming cells found in the testicles. These cancers fall into two common types, seminomas or nonseminomas. Other types of testicular cancer, such as sarcomas or lymphomas, are very rare.
Seminomas are reported for about 40 percent of all testicular cancer. Seminomas are made up of undeveloped germ cells. Generally, seminomas are lazy growing and have tendency to stay internal in the testicle for long span of time.

Nonseminomas are a group of cancers that at times arise in combination, including choriocarcinoma, embryonal carcinoma, and yolk sac cancers. Nonseminomas occur from more developed, dedicated germ cells and have the tendency to be more destructive than seminomas. According to the American Cancer Society, 60 to 70 percent of patients with nonseminomas have had cancer spread to the lymph nodes.

Cancer Stages

Physicians calculate the degree of the disease by carrying out tests that permit the doctor to classify, or "stage," the disease. These staging tests are comprised of imaging techniques, blood analyses and at times additional surgery. Staging helps the doctor to plan the most suitable treatment for each patient.

There are three stages of testicular cancer:

• Stage 1--Cancer restricted to the testicle.
• Stage 2--Disease stretched to retroperitoneal lymph nodes, positioned in the rear of the body underneath the diaphragm.
• Stage 3--Cancer stretched further than the lymph nodes to distant portions of the body.

With the help blood tests, doctors can verify for cancer-associated markers, substances usually exist in abnormal quantities in cancer patients. Matching the levels of markers pre and post surgical treatment assists doctors decide if cancer has spread beyond the testicles. Similarly, measuring marker levels pre and post chemotherapy treatment can assist in demonstrating the effect of the chemotherapeutic drugs.

Surgery to confiscate the retroperitoneal lymph nodes, frequently, is essential for testicular cancer patients. Doctors inspect lymph tissue under microscope to find out the stage of the disease. Moreover, confiscating the tissue facilitates control further cancer spread.

Cancer Treatment

There is no one particular treatment that works for all testicular cancers. Seminomas and nonseminomas vary in their tendency to stretch, their patterns of stretch, and reaction to radiation therapy. Therefore, they frequently need diverse treatment strategies, which doctors choose based on the type and the stage of disease.

Because they are slow paced in growth and tend to stay limited, seminomas usually are diagnosed in stage 1 or 2. Treatment could be a combination of testicle removal, radiation, or chemotherapy. Surgical removal of lymph nodes, however, generally is not needed for seminoma patients, since this type of cancer is known as "exquisitely sensitive" to radiation. Usually aimed at the retroperitoneal lymph nodes but at times to other lymph nodes, radiation can efficiently remove cancer cells there. Stage 3 seminomas are generally treated with multi-drug chemotherapy.

Side Effects

Any type of cancer treatment can originate unwanted side-effects. However, all patients do not respond the same manner or to the similar stage. Between the primary worries of young men is concerning effect of treatment on their sexual or reproductive abilities.
Removing one testicle does not damage fertility or sexual purpose. The left over testicle can make sperm and hormones sufficient for reproduction. Removal of the retroperitoneal lymph nodes generally does not impact the capability to have erections or orgasms. It can, nevertheless, disturb the nerve pathways that manage ejaculation, leading to infertility.

Doctors stress that although the cure rate is very high for all types and stages of testicular cancer, many of the severe measures employed to cure later-stage disease can be kept away from if the cancer is diagnosed early enough. The best method to find this is through habitual self-examination.
Published: 2007-01-18
Author: Mohammad Faizan

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