Posts in "testicular-cancer/"
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Must-know facts about testicular cancer

Written by Community Health Network on 6/14/2014 6:00:00 AM

June is Men's Health Cancer Awareness Month, so we're going balls to the walls to help you prevent cancers like testicular cancer.

What is testicular cancer?
Like the name states, testicular cancer is cancer of the testicles, a part of the male reproductive system. These two organs are each normally somewhat smaller than a golf ball and are contained within a sac of skin called the scrotum. The scrotum hangs beneath the base of the penis.

The testicles make male hormones such as testosterone and sperm, the male cells needed to fertilize a female egg cell to start a pregnancy.

The testicles are made up of several types of cells that can develop into cancer. Malignant cells form in the tissues of one or both testicles, most commonly in germ cells – the cells that produce immature sperm. It often develops in young men, although it can occur at any age. It is a highly treatable and curable type of cancer.

Is testicular cancer common?
Testicular cancer is one of the least common cancers, but is still prevalent. 

  • In 2014, the American Cancer Society states about 8,820 new testicular cancer cases will be diagnosed.
  • In a man's lifetime the chance of developing testicular cancer is one in 270.
  • The average age at the time of diagnosis is 33.
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Photo credit: American Cancer Society

Cancer answers: Is testicular cancer treatable?

Written by Community Health Network on 4/24/2014 7:00:00 AM

By Anuj Agarwala, MD, a Community Health Network board certified hematologist, medical oncologist and internal medicine specialist, and an MD Anderson Cancer Network™ certified physician.

Testicular cancer is very treatable and in the majority of cases, curable. It has been viewed as a model cancer for how cancers can be cured, even when it has spread to other parts of the body (metastasized). It has a five-year survival rate of 95 percent.

In almost all cases, the affected testicle will be surgically removed. If the cancer was isolated to only the testicle, it's likely your doctor will continue to evaluate you with blood tests and imaging to be sure the cancer does not affect the other testicle. In advanced testicular cancers, chemotherapy, further surgery to remove lymph nodes (retroperitoneal lymph node dissection), and/or radiation may be utilized.

For more information about how testicular cancer is treated at Community, check out our cancer care page.

Putt-ing cancer in its place

Written by Community Health Network on 4/22/2014 8:00:00 PM

Pro golfer Billy Mayfair, testicular cancer survivor

The best in golf just teed up for the Master's and the PGA tour is underway. But one pro golfer is more than just a five-time PGA Tour winner, he's also a cancer survivor.

Billy Mayfair has a resume that includes PGA tour trophy's and a win against Tiger Woods in a sudden-death duel at the 1998 Nissan Open. It also includes a battle with testicular cancer.

In 2006 Mayfair discovered a lump in his groin.

"I was getting out of the shower and I felt a large bump just below my groin," Mayfair told Coping with Cancer Magazine in 2010. "I looked in the mirror and could tell that my right testicle was the size of a baseball. I didn't think very much about it, but it just didn't feel right."

After a trip to the doctor to have the unusual lump inspected, Mayfair was diagnosed with cancer. Just four days later he had surgery to remove his right testicle and rid him of cancer. Surgery was successful and Mayfair underwent radiation treatment to kill any remaining cancer cells.

Soon, Mayfair was back out on the course playing in the PGA Tournament and remains cancer-free today.

Read our Q&A with Dr. Agarwala to learn more about how testicular cancer is treated.

Source: Coping with Cancer
Image: PGA

Posted in: Testicular Cancer

Infertility and testicular cancer

Written by Community Health Network on 4/17/2014 7:00:00 AM

Testosterone levels and infertility can be affected by cancer treatment, but it differs from person to person.

Testicular cancer normally only develops in one testicle. If that testicle is removed, the other testicle can usually make enough testosterone to keep hormone levels up. The age of the person and the pre-treatment gonadal function also play a large role in the testosterone level after treatment.

However, if the both testicles have been removed or if a new cancer develops, supplemental testosterone can be given. Most often this is in the form of a gel or patch that is put on the skin or a monthly shot.

Men who develop testicular cancer can also experience issues with fertility, with chemotherapy and radiation patients being at the highest risk for infertility. Patients who undergo a non-nerve-sparing retroperitoneal lymph node dissection are likely to have fertility issues due to problems with ejaculation. However, sperm banking is offered to patients prior to starting cancer treatment if fatherhood is something the patient wants to consider. Additional options, like in vitro fertilization, also exist to help men father children post-treatment.

Concerned about infertility or low hormone levels?

Call our cancer care experts at 800-777-7775 to have your questions answered.

Cancer answers: How is testicular cancer detected?

Written by Community Health Network on 4/15/2014 7:00:00 AM

By Anuj Agarwala, MD, a Community Health Network board certified hematologist, medical oncologist and internal medicine specialist, and an MD Anderson Cancer Network® certified physician.

Your doctor will obtain a detailed medical history from you and perform a physical examination, including an examination of the testicles. The next step is typically an ultrasound. This is a painless test in which a probe is placed over the testicle(s) and the images are evaluated by the doctor. This test alone can often determine whether or not there is cancer. However, blood work, X-rays and/or CT scans may be performed depending on your individual situation.

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