Cancer is a disease in which your body’s cells grow out of control. When this abnormal cell growth starts in your nuts, it’s called testicular cancer.
Here are some key facts about testicular cancer:
There are different types of testicular cancer.
More than 90% of testicular cancers start in the cells that make sperm (germ cells).
The main types of germ cell cancers are seminomas and non-seminomas.
Treatment decisions and chances of recovery depend on the kind of cancer and the type of cell it starts in.
Testicular cancer isn’t very common. It makes up only 1% of all male tumors. But it’s the most common cancer in males aged 15 to 39. Fortunately, the testicular cancer survival rate is pretty good with treatment — 95%.
Anyone who has nuts can get testicular cancer. No one knows exactly what causes it, but there may be some related risk factors. In saying that, many guys who get it don’t have any of these known testicular cancer risk factors.
Undescended testicles at birth. (Your nuts didn't drop)
Being related to someone who’s had testicular cancer.
Having had testicular cancer before.
Race and ethnicity – risk is higher in the USA and Europe, and lower in Africa and Asia.
The best thing you can do for your nuts is to get familiar with them. (Go on, have a feel.) If something doesn’t seem right, head to the doctor.
Getting diagnosed with testicular cancer is tough. Make sure you get some support around you, and talk to a guide if you want to speak to someone who ‘gets it’. Consider getting more than one doctor’s opinion, and then you’ll need to chat about treatment options.
Remember, you’re not alone in this.
Hear from MoBro Ben Bowers about his experience with testicular cancer.
The good news? Testicular cancer is highly treatable and has an excellent cure rate if it’s diagnosed and treated early. Your treatment will depend on a few things, including the type and stage of your cancer.
Treatment options may include:
Surgery — usually the first line of defense, and involves removal of the testicle with cancer (called an orchiectomy). The procedure is done under general anesthesia.
Radiation therapy (or radiotherapy) — mainly used for seminomas, or after surgery for cancer that has spread out of the testicles.
Chemotherapy — often used after surgery to treat any remaining cancer cells that may have spread to other parts of the body, such as lymph nodes.
Thinking of having kids down the track? If you’ve had testicular cancer and a single testicle has been removed, you can likely still produce large numbers of sperm with your remaining testicle.
If you’re planning to start a family or have more kids at some point, talk to your oncologist about sperm freezing and banking before you have chemotherapy or radiation therapy.