Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men under 40. But even if the diagnosis is a shock, today’s treatment options are excellent and even if the tumour should already have spread, the chances of recovery with the appropriate therapy are high.
Testicular cancer is a malignant tumour in the testicles changing the very cells of the testicles in such a manner that they grow unchecked. In a later phase, the tumour may spread to other organs and create metastases via the lymphatic system or the blood. Testicular cancer is the most common malignant cancer in young men between the ages of 20 and 40. Every year, around 400 men in Switzerland are diagnosed with testicular cancer. Testicular cancer accounts for about 1% of all cancers in men. Risk factors for testicular cancer are, e.g., undescended testicles (cryptorchidism), a tumour in the opposite testicle, infertility, and a first-degree relative already suffering from testicular cancer.
In addition to a careful examination of the testicles, an ultrasound scan is standard. Thanks to an ultrasound scan, testicles may be examined in high definition to either exclude or confirm a testicular tumour. If the ultrasound scan should confirm abnormal findings, a blood sample to test for so-called testicular tumour markers is taken. In addition, a computer tomography (CT) of the abdomen and the lungs is performed, to see whether there are any metastatic tumours.
In case a testicular tumour is suspected, the affected testicle has to be surgically exposed and removed through an incision in the groin. This procedure is performed under anaesthesia. Subsequently, the tumour is examined by a pathologist and the final diagnosis confirmed. Should the findings be ambiguous, the pathologist can directly examine the tissue during the operation (frozen section procedure). If the suspected tumour is confirmed, the testicle has to be removed. Depending on the final tumour findings based on the histological examination and in certain risk constellations, this will have to be followed by chemotherapy. This will be decided by case discussions with experts of all involved disciplines and you will be referred to the respective experts.