What Is Testicular cancer?
In men, the testicles or testes are found in the scrotum, which is the loose bag under the penis. The testicles produce the sperm and male sex hormones. Testicular cancer develops in the testes and is quite rare compared to the other kinds of cancer.
Testicular cancer quite commonly occurs in teens and young males of ages between 15-35 years, but is one of the most curable diseases, even if the cancer spreads beyond the testicles.
There are 2 main kinds of testicular cancer – seminomas and nonseminomas. These kinds of cancers essentially grow from the germ cells that make up the sperm.
This a form of testicular cancer that is slow-growing and occurs mostly in men who are in their 30s or 40s. This kind of cancer is usually just limited to the testes but it may spread outside the testes too.
Nonseminomas is a more common kind of testicular cancer that tends to grow more rapidly when compared to seminomas. Nonseminoma cancers usually comprise more than one kind of cells and are usually categorised according to the different cell types:
- Yolk sac tumour
- Embryonal carcinoma
- Choriocarcinoma (rare)
A stromal tumour is a rare kind of a testicular tumour that usually occurs during childhood and are usually not cancerous. There are two kinds of stromal tumours, Sertoli cell tumours and Leydig cell tumours.
What Are The Symptoms Of Testicular cancer?
Testicular cancer affects only one of the testes and the symptoms of testicular cancer are:
- Heaviness in the scrotum.
- Enlargement or lump in one of the testicles.
- A dull pain in the groin or abdomen.
- Pain or discomfort in the scrotum or testicle.
- Collection of fluid in the scrotum.
- Tenderness or enlargement of the breasts.
- Back pain.
- Tiredness and malaise.
Testicular cancer usually does not spread to other organs, except to the lungs and the following symptoms may be experienced, if it does spread to the lungs:
- Shortness of breath and difficulty in breathing.
- Difficulty in swallowing.
- Swelling in the chest.
What Are The Causes Of Testicular cancer?
In most cases, it is not very clear about the cause of testicular cancer. Most of the time, testicular cancers originate from the germ cells (cells present in the testicles that produce immature sperm). However, some of the risk factors that can increase the incidence of testicular cancer are:
- Cryptorchidism (undescended testicle in young children and infants).
- Abnormal development of the testicles due to causes like Klinefelter syndrome.
- A family history of testicular cancer.
- Teens and young men between the ages 15-35 years.
- Testicular cancer occurs more commonly in white than black men.
- Identical twin having testicular cancer.
- Viral infections of testicles such as mumps.
- Scrotum injury.
What Are The Things One Should Do To Manage Testicular cancer?
- Examine and do a self-check of your testicles every month after puberty.
- Get more exercise, it can help to improve your both physical as well as your emotional health.
- Cut down on alcohol.
What Are The Things One Should Avoid To Manage Testicular cancer?
- Avoid smoking.
- Avoid stress and anxiety, as it will worsen your health condition.
- Avoid substances that can cause testicular cancer:
- Plastic food and beverage containers and cans contain BPA that can induce testicular cancer.
- Avoid using plastic water bottles as they contain phthalates, which may interfere with the functioning of the testes, inhibit the production and quality of sperm production and also disrupt the male hormones.
What Are The Best Foods For Testicular cancer?
- One major cause of cancer is the high level of oxidative stress that causes inflammation. Antioxidant-rich foods like carrots, yellow, red and orange bell peppers, sweet potato, tomatoes, cherries, berries, and pomegranate can help to reduce the risk of cancer by reducing inflammation.
- Selenium can help to fight cancer. So, you must eat foods rich in selenium like wild salmon, shrimp, sardines and Brazil nuts.
- Eating foods with turmeric, which is rich in curcumin can help to prevent cancer of the testes.
- Garlic and onions have been shown to protect against oxidative damage and testicular cancer.
- Vitamin B5 can help to improve the testicular function, sperm motility and increase the levels of testosterone and eating foods like crimini and shiitake mushrooms, sweet potato, lentils, peas, and avocado can help to improve the health of the testes.
- Foods that are rich in zinc like pumpkin seeds, beef, oysters, and lamb can help to reduce the risk of testicular cancer.
- Citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, etc. are rich in the antioxidant vitamin C that has anti-cancer properties.
- Hydrate yourself with plenty of water, milk, juices, non-alcoholic beverages, soups, smoothies, etc. to prevent dehydration.
What Are The Worst Foods For Testicular cancer?
- Avoid microwaveable popcorn, as the bags are coated with carcinogenic chemicals that can increase the risk of testicular cancer.
- Avoid processed meats like hot dogs, bacon, ham, sausages, etc. as they have preservatives that can cause testicular cancer.
- Avoid hydrogenated and fatty foods like fries, chips and baked goods as the trans fats in these foods raise the risk of cancer.
- Avoid sugar and sugary foods and beverages like cakes, pastries, soda, cola as these increase the incidence of different cancers including testicular cancer.
- Avoid soy and soy products like soy milk, tofu, tempeh, etc., as soy is being genetically modified and this can increase the risk of testicular cancer. Use almond milk instead.
- Avoid using refined flour and products made of refined flours like white pasta, white bread, etc. as these increase the risk of various cancers. Use whole grains and whole grain flours and products.
- Avoid excessive alcohol as it can increase the risk of testicular cancer.
What Are The Medicines For Testicular cancer?
What Are The Tips To Manage Testicular cancer?
- Relax and consider the fact that testicular cancer is treatable. Anxiety and stress can worsen the condition of cancer. So, take up some relaxing activities like yoga and meditation that will help you relax.
- Educate yourself about testicular cancer and speak to your family and friends to support or join a support group. Having support is an essential aspect of fighting testicular cancer.
- Once you have undergone and completed your treatment for testicular cancer, make sure that you see your doctor for follow-up appointments, so that testicular cancer can be treated immediately even if does come back.