Testicular Cancer Questions To Ask Doctor

Doctors recommend that men over the age of 14 receive a testicular cancer exam each year at their regular physicals. This is a good time to talk to your doctor about testicular cancer so that you understand not only how to perform an effective self-exam but also how to take measures to prevent the development of this condition. Here is a list of helpful questions to ask your doctor that will help you better understand testicular cancer, as well as its associated diagnostic and treatment processes:

  1. What is testicular cancer?
    Testicular cancer is a condition in which abnormal, malignant cells start and continue to grow in one or both of the male sex glands, known as the testes or gonads.
  2. How common is testicular cancer?
    While about 8,000 to 9,000 men are diagnosed with testicular cancer each year, this type of cancer only makes up 1 percent of the cancers that affect men in the United States. Less than 5 percent of the men with testicular cancer die from this condition each year.
  3. What factors put me at a greater risk of developing testicular cancer?
    Although the exact causes of testicular cancer remain unknown, the medical community has identified some factors that put men at a greater risk of developing this condition. Some of these risk factors include having an undescended testicle (cryptorchidism), having a family history of testicular cancer or suffering from physical abnormalities in the penis, testicles and/or kidneys.
  4. What are the symptoms of testicular cancer?
    Men themselves are usually the ones to detect the presence of testicular cancer because they are vigilant about self-exams and understand the symptoms. Common symptoms associated with this disease include swollen, tender testicles; pain in the testicles; and achy sensations in the lower abdomen.
  5. If I experience any of these symptoms, how does my doctor make an official diagnosis?
    After performing a physical exam, your doctor will perform blood tests, an ultrasound and a biopsy of the growth to evaluate whether or not you have testicular cancer, as well as to identify what type of testicular cancer you have. Your doctor will also determine whether or not the cancer has spread (metastasized) to other parts of your body. This helps him figure out the type and intensity of treatment you need.
  6. How is testicular cancer treated?
    Although the exact treatment methods depend on the type of testicular cancer you have, the most common treatment involves surgery to extract the tumor, radiation to shrink tumors and chemotherapy to kill cancerous cells. While these treatment methods are highly effective, they can cause infertility in some.
  7. What is the survival rate of testicular cancer?
    Although testicular cancer is a serious disease, the good news is that it is one of the cancers that is the easiest to treat. In fact, if testicular cancer is caught in its early stages, it has a 95-percent survival rate. Even in its later stages there is a 70-percent survival rate.

While you may have other questions about testicular cancer, this set provides you with a solid basis of understanding the condition. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you start experiencing symptoms or have other questions about testicular cancer.

Resources

Medline Plus. (2007). Testicular Cancer. Retrieved June 22, 2007 from: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001288.htm.

National Cancer Institute (2007). Testicular Cancer: Questions