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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 pretreatment 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 oncologists and internal medicine specialists, and a 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 their is cancer. However, blood work, X-rays and/or CT scans may be performed depending on your individual situation.

Ask Dr. Agarwala
Submit your cancer questions to Dr. Agarwala and other Community cancer experts to have them answered.

Check 'em

Written by Community Health Network on 4/10/2014 6:00:00 PM

We're going balls to the wall this month to help you prevent testicular cancer. A testicular self-examination is one way to reduce risk of testicular cancer. The best time to examine your testicles is during or after a bath or shower, when the skin of the scrotum is relaxed.

It’s normal for one testicle to be slightly larger, and to hang lower than the other. You should also be aware that each normal testicle has an epididymis, a small, coiled tube that can feel like a small bump on the upper or middle outer side of the testis. Normal testicles also contain blood vessels, supporting tissues, and tubes that carry sperm. Some men may confuse these with abnormal lumps at first.

Try to check your testicles once a month. If you examine your testicles frequently, you will become familiar with what is normal and what is not.

I found an unusual lump.
If you have any concerns or find unusual lumps, consult your doctor for a general physical and testing for testicular cancer.

Image source: Testicular Cancer Foundation

Tags: prevention | Posted in: Testicular Cancer

Types of testicular cancer

Written by Community Health Network on 4/8/2014 3:00:00 PM

About 90% of testicular cancers start in germ cells that make sperm. There are two main types of germ cell tumors. The type you have will determine your treatment and prognosis.

Seminomas tend to grow more slowly and respond well to radiation therapy.
The two subtypes of seminomas are: classical (most common) and spermatocytic (more often found in older men).

Nonseminomas tend to occur earlier in life and spread faster. Young men are more likely to have nonseminomas.

There are four tumor types: embryonal carcinoma, yolk sac carcinoma, choriocarcinoma and teratoma. These tumors generally respond better to chemotherapy than radiation therapy.

The best way to prevent testicular cancer is to perform monthly self-exams. Here is an easy, three-step guide to performing a self-exam.

Posted in: Testicular Cancer

Keeping cancer in check

Written by Community Health Network on 4/5/2014 1:00:00 PM

You may know Phil Kessel as the leading scorer for the Toronto Maple Leafs, or recall him skating with U.S. Men’s Hockey Team in Sochi this February.

What you may not know is that this hat trick-scoring hockey player is also a cancer survivor.

In 2006, as a rookie with the Boston Bruins, Phil detected a small lump in his testicle. He was concerned and approached a physician. After an exam and ultrasound, he was diagnosed with embryonal testicular cancer.

"I couldn't believe it," said Phil Kessel. "It was tough. I had a hard time with it."

Phil underwent surgery and had his right testicle removed. The surgery was successful, and despite missing 11 regular-season games that year, he went on to win the Masterton Trophy.

Now, seven years later, the cancer survivor is still on the ice. Kessel is also a part of the NHL Hockey Fights Cancer initiative, and organization that has raised over $12.8 million for research and cancer care treatment centers in the U.S. and Canada.


The easiest way to prevent testicular cancer is to perform regular self-exams. Get the instructions on our testicular cancer page.

Tags: hockey , Phil Kessel | Posted in: Testicular Cancer

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April is Testicular Cancer Awareness Month

Did you know testicular cancer affects men as young as 15? Visit our website to learn more about testicular cancer and how to protect yourself with a self-exam.

Learn more about testicular cancer in April