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Screening For Testicular Cancer in Men

Testicular cancer is a growth in the tissue of the testicle, the organ responsible for producing sperm. It is located outside the body to provide suitable temperature conditions for the sperm, which require a slightly lower temperature than that of the body. The condition is common among males aged 15 to 40 and is usually discovered after accidentally feeling a hard, sensationless lump in the testicle.

After a physical examination is completed, the patient is sent for an ultrasound of the testicles, and blood tests for testicular cancer markers: alpha-fetoprotein, beta HCG (the same test used for pregnancy, as the marker is also released in cases of testicular cancer) and LDH levels. When the results are positive, or there is doubt, the patient is also referred for a CT scan of the abdomen, pelvis and chest to try to locate metastases in the area of the kidneys or lungs. The fertility ramifications are such that having only one testicle, a person can be completely fertile and function normally.

Early treatment can prevent the cancer from spreading to other parts of the body, improving the overall quality of life for the individual. Treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Treatment interventions are often more effective when the cancer is localized and has not metastasized to other organs. Fertility preservation techniques, such as sperm banking before cancer treatment, can be discussed and implemented early on to maintain future reproductive options. Therefore, emphasizing the importance of regular screenings, self-examinations, and seeking medical attention for any concerning symptoms, individuals can increase the likelihood of detecting testicular cancer at an early stage. Early detection not only improves treatment outcomes but also plays a crucial role in potentially saving lives by addressing the disease promptly and effectively.

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