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germ-cell-cancer

Germ cell cancer (testicular cancer)

While the name may suggest it, it has nothing with germs. Germ cells are the cells in the testicles that produce sperm. Germ cell cancer occurs when these cells mutate and grow rapidly. They can be either benign or malignant and can occur in one or both testicles.

Germ cell cancer accounts for 90% of all cases of testicular cancer. Common types of germ cancer are:

  • Seminomas is a type of cancer that grows slowly and doesn’t spread into nearby tissues or organs.
  • Nonseminomas is a more common type of testicular cancer that grows rapidly and can spread into other parts of the body.
  • Yolk sac tumours that form in the testicles and can spread into lymph nodes.
  • Gonadal stromal tumours are a rare type of testicular cancer and occur in the tissues that produce hormone.

Symptoms:

In most cases, testicular cancer doesn’t cause any visible discomfort or symptoms. When they do appear, they can include:

  • Recurring pain or discomfort in one or both the testicles
  • Swelling in testicles
  • Pain in the back or lower abdomen
  • Weakness in the legs
    • If one suspects they have testicular cancer or have any of these symptoms, they must consult with the doctor right away.

      Causes:

      Mutation in the germ cells can cause them to grow and divide rapidly, which can form into a tumour. These tumours turn malignant and can invade and destroys healthy cells and tissues.

      Risk factors:

      The exact causes of cell mutation are unknown. However, some factors can increase the risk of testicular cancer. These factors are:

      • Undescended testicles
      • Congenital disorders
      • History of cancer in the family
      • Genetic disorders like Klinefelter syndrome or Turner syndrome

      Diagnosis:

      Our doctor will perform various tests to diagnose testicular cancer. They may use one or more of the following tests:

      • Physical exam to check for any abnormalities in the testicles, such as lumps or swelling.
      • Blood tests to check for cancer markers, such as elevated levels of alpha-fetoprotein or beta-human chorionic gonadotropin.
      • Imaging tests, such as ultrasound or MRI to examine the inside of the testicles for tumours.
      • Biopsy to take a tissue sample from the testicles and test it for cancer.
      • PET or CT scan to see how far cancer has spread.

      Treatment:

      Based on the diagnosis, patient’s preference and overall health, our doctors recommend the most viable treatment option for testicular cancer. These treatment options may include:

      Surgery:

      It’s the most-effective treatment option for testicular and has a better outcome and lower recurrence rate. These surgeries can include:

      • Radical inguinal orchiectomy is the primary treatment for all types of testicular cancer. In this procedure, our surgeon will make a small incision in the groin area and remove the affected testicle with the surrounding tissues. A reconstructive can also be performed to replace the testicle with a prosthetic, saline-filled testicle.
      • Retroperitoneal lymph node dissection is performed if cancer has spread into the lymph nodes. Our surgeon makes an incision in the abdomen and removes the lymph nodes without damaging the surrounding nerves.

      Chemotherapy:

      In chemotherapy, our doctors will use a group of drugs to stop cancer from spreading. Cancer cells absorb the drugs faster than normal cells, thus slowing their growth. These drugs can be delivered through a vein or a catheter, depending on the stage of cancer.

      Radiation therapy:

      Our surgeon will use controlled radiation to damage or destroy the DNA of cancer cells. Our radiation oncologist will use a machine to direct the energy beams on the cancer cells. It can be used in combination with chemotherapy if surgery isn’t an option.

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