(HealthDay)—Testicular cancer occurs most often in young men, and they need to know the signs of the disease, a urologist says.
Testicular cancer is relatively rare—about 9,000 new cases will be diagnosed this year in the United States—but it is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in males aged 15 to 40.
It's a highly treatable disease, especially when diagnosed early, according to testicular cancer specialist Dr. Aditya Bagrodia, an assistant professor of urology at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.
"Embarrassment about symptoms and even confusion with sexually transmitted diseases can prevent some young men from seeking medical help when the disease is at its earliest, most curable stage," Bagrodia said in a medical center news release.
Signs of testicular cancer include: painless swelling or a mass about the size of a pea or marble in a testicle; a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum; a dull ache in the groin or scrotum; and breast tenderness or growth.
Only about 10 percent of patients have pain in the testicles.
If the cancer spreads to other parts of the body, patients may develop back pain, swelling in lymph nodes in the neck, difficulty breathing, chest pain or cough.
Men who are at high risk for testicular cancer should do a monthly self-exam. Risk factors include: family history of testicular cancer; personal history of testicular cancer; undescended testicle at birth, and infertility, Bagrodia explained.
"Diagnosis at an early stage can mean the difference between a straightforward surgical cure and having to potentially undergo chemotherapy, radiation and multiple surgeries," he added.
More information: The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more on testicular cancer.
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