Testicular cancer is 16th most common male cancer with approximately new 2,300 cases in the UK each year. Its incidence of testicular cancer appears to be increasing, currently there are about 7 cases per 100,000 men, however this is projected to increase to 10 per 100,000 by 2035. It can occur in any male but it is more common in certain groups.
Undescended or Mal-descended testis: This is normally detected at birth or within the first few months and is when the testis does not find their way to the scrotum during a baby’s development
Family History: If you have a brother or father who has had testicular cancer then this increases your risk.
The most common presenting symptom is a lump in the testis, however it can also present as heaviness or a pain in the testicle. If you notice any change in your testicle then you should seek medical advice.
Diagnosis is made by taking an accurate medical history, clinical examination and confirmed by an ultra-sound scan and blood tests. If testicular cancer is detected patients will also need a CT scan to assess the full extent of the condition.
The immediate treatment of testicular cancer involves the removal of the testis (radical orchidectomy). This is performed under general anaesthetic via an incision in your groin. A prosthesis (artificial) testis can be placed at the same time in most cases if the patient requests one; this will be discussed thoroughly with you prior to any surgery. In the majority of cases surgery is performed as a day-case procedure.
Once the type of cancer has been determined then patients are referred onto an oncologist to discuss further management. Most patients will require additional treatment but this will depend on the type of tumour and the extent of the disease. Additional treatments are based around chemotherapy, radiotherapy and in rarer cases further surgery. In some cases no further treatment is required, however this group of patients are kept under close follow up and treatment offered at any sign of recurrence.
Individual cure rates will be dependent on the type and stage of testicular cancer you have. However the overall cure rate for this group of cancers is excellent with a 98% survival rate at 5 years post diagnosis.
The earlier a testicular cancer is detected and treated the higher chance of a cure, hence why it is important to seek experienced medical opinion should you notice any change in your testicles.
If you notice a swelling of your testis then you should either see your GP, who will refer you appropriately or you can arrange a direct appointment with one of the urology consultants at Manchester Urology.
If you are referred to Manchester Urology you will be seen by an experienced consultant urologist who will initially take a full medical history, taking into account all of your potential risk factors. You will then require a full examination including both your testis.
In a number of cases the urology consultant may be able to reassure you that the changes are not, or unlikely to be caused by cancer.
Should he suspect that there is a tumour present then he will inform you of his concern and arrange urgent blood tests and an ultrasound scan. The ultrasound scan will be performed by an experienced consultant radiologist who has expertise in this area. This can often be organised on the same day or at least very shortly afterwards.
Once all the results are back (blood test are normally available the following day) then you will be reviewed again by your urology consultant who will explain all the findings and the necessary treatment. He is likely to propose surgery in the form of a radical orchidectomy (removal of the testis).
Whilst in almost all cases your surgery will be performed by the consultant you have seen in clinic; one of the advantages of being seen by Manchester Urology is the team ethos that is held by all the consultants. This allows more opportunities for your surgery to be carried out in a rapid, efficient timescale that fits in with your situation.
If you have any concerns or questions please do not hesitate to contact Manchester Urology.
British Association of Urology – Radical Orchidectomy information sheet
Bristish Association of Urology
Teenage Cancer Trust