|CAUSES SYMPTOMS DIAGNOSIS STAGES TREATMENT|
Routine regular self examination of the testicle should be done by all men, beginning at the age of 15 years. Most testicular cancers are found by men themselves. The best method of examination is known as testicular self-exam or TSE. Men should be familiar with the normal weight, texture and consistency of their testicles. With early detection, there are 90% chances of a complete cure.
Testicular self examination
Testicular self examination should be carried out once in a month and the best time to feel the testicles is following a bath or shower when the organs are warm and relaxed. Use a mirror to become familiar with the normal size and appearance of the testicles. Check out for any swelling on the scrotal skin. Examine each testicle with both hands. Place the index and middle fingers under the testicle with the thumbs placed on top. Roll the testicle gently between the thumbs and fingers. If you are familiar with the epididymis, a small firm, soft, tubelike structure at the back of the testicle that collects and carries sperm, you won't mistake it for a suspicious lump. Look out for any extra increase in size or weight which might indicate abnormality. Cancerous lumps usually are found on the sides of the testicle but can also show up on the front. Lumps on the epididymis are not cancerous.
Any change or pain in a testicle should be shown to a general practitioner, preferably a Urologist, with out delay. He will carry out a physical examination to rule out any other conditions or infections that can cause similar symptoms. If the doctor suspects testicular cancer he may perform an ultrasound scan or blood test to clarify the diagnosis. An ultrasound scan using sound waves determines if a mass is solid or fluid filled. A solid tumour in the testicle is usually cancerous. Certain types of testicular cancer raise the level of substances known as tumor markers (which are found in higher than normal amounts when a tumor is present) in the blood. Blood tests that measure the levels of these substances are used to diagnose testicular cancer and, in some cases, to determine the extent of the disease.
When a solid tumor is detected by ultrasound, a Computed Tomography (CT scan) or chest x-ray is performed to check for any signs that the cancer has spread to lymph nodes or other organs. CT scans are helpful in staging the cancer or determining the extent of its spread.
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