Stages Of Testicular Cancer And Its Treatment in India
Cancer is one of the leading causes of mortality, not just in India but the world over. Technological advancements in the medical field over the years have given rise to more and more ways of detecting early warning signs of testicular cancer, and other types of cancer; thus, enabling a higher chance of success in treatments. However, due to several other reasons, some people still end up losing the battle to cancer.
“Like many other types of cancer, early detection is the key to treating and defeating Testicle cancer. Indian men should regularly examine themselves to check for lumps in the testicles or pain and swelling in the scrotal area. You should also stay schedule regular full-body medical checkups to detect any symptoms early and get treatment.”
– Dr. Pragnya Rao, General Physician
Usually, cell division is a normal process which keeps your body functions healthy. However, when cells start dividing uncontrollably, forming lumps or growth in the body, it may cause cancer.
The key characteristic of cancer is that it can develop in any part of the body, and as it grows, it may invade further into other body parts as well. This article talks about cancer that occurs in a man’s testicles (testes) and the reason for Testicle cancer. The article also covers holistic care and testicular cancer treatments in India that are available.
The scrotum is a loose sac-like structure located just under the penis. The male reproductive glands inside the scrotum are called testicles which are responsible for producing sperms and the male sex hormone (testosterone) in the body. If you are wondering where is testicular cancer found, simply put- cancer developing inside the testicles of a man is Testicle cancer. While diagnosing this, your doctor may suggest close monitoring and appropriate cancer treatment in India.
In comparison to other types of cancer, the occurrence rate of Testicle cancer in India is rare, with less than 1 case per 1 lakh cases. Furthermore, it has a survival rate of more than 90 per cent. The earlier the cancer diagnosis, the higher the recovery rate.
Signs and Symptoms of Testicular Cancer in Indian Men
Though in rare cases, cancer can develop in both testicles, it usually occurs in one of the two testicles. Some common symptoms in males include:
- A painless lump in either testicle
- A heavy feeling or swelling in the scrotum with or without pain
- Dull, intermittent pain in the abdomen or groin
- Fluid collection in the scrotum
- Testicular or scrotal pain or discomfort
Tenderness of breast tissue in men/growth of breast tissue called gynecomastia
- Swelling in legs
Is testicular cancer painful? The answer is, it can spread in the body may result in additional symptoms like pain in the lower back, abdomen, chest or head.
If you notice any change in your groin area or how your testicles feel, and the symptoms last for more than two weeks, consult an oncologist on MFine and get a proper diagnosis done.
How Is Testicle Cancer Diagnosed in India?
Detection of cancer growth can happen during self-examination when you feel a lump or change in the size of the testicle. Your doctor can also identify it during a routine examination.
The doctor can perform the following tests and screenings to ascertain if it is a cancerous testicular lump and to rule out other conditions:
An ultrasound scan is usually the first step taken by the doctor if there’s a testicle lump on physical examination. This test produces a picture of the testicles with the help of ultrasound for an elaborate view. It’s a painless procedure in which you have to lie down on your back before the radiologist applies a clear gel on the scrotum. A hand-held device is then moved over it to produce an image.
An ultrasound scan helps the doctor in determining the nature and location of the lump and reach the possibility of a testicular cancer diagnosis accordingly.
Testicle cancer can result in specific proteins and enzymes to float in the bloodstream like alpha-fetoprotein or beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). Their elevated levels in the blood, helps the doctor to identify the possibility of cancer in the body, its type and spread. This blood test for cancer is called a tumour marker test.
In this, some testicle tissue is removed examined microscopically to detect the presence of cancer cells. But doing so has the slight risk of causing the cancer to spread through the scrotum. So instead, the doctor may choose to perform surgery and remove the whole testicle and then analyze it for cancer.
If there’s a cancer diagnosis, the doctor will perform further tests like X-ray and CT scan to be sure it hasn’t spread to other parts of the body.
However, it’s vital to know that all lumps aren’t cancerous, and the pain or discomfort in the groin region can be due to some other underlying health issue as well.
– Cancer developing inside the testicles of a man is known as Testicle cancer.
– The rates of occurrence in India are rare in comparison to other types of cancer, with less than 1 case per 1 lakh cases.
– The signs and symptoms of Testicle cancer in Indian men include a lump or change in the size of the testicle, swelling or heaviness in the scrotum, fluid collection in the scrotum, pain or discomfort in the groin area etc.
– Doctors can perform tests like an ultrasound scan, blood tests, surgery, X-ray, CT scan, etc. to diagnose this type of cancer.
Book an online doctor consultation on MFine to get treated by the best doctors near you!
The best treatment for testicular cancer in India will depend on the type, stage of cancer, and your overall health and preferences. An open discussion with your doctor will help them suggest the right option, and you can take a decision accordingly.
Standard Treatment Options in India
In the early stages of testicle cancer, your doctor might suggest monitoring the cancer to keep a check on its further growth. The following treatment options may be proposed after detection in a later stage:
- Radical Orchiectomy – This is a surgical procedure where the doctor makes an incision in your groin area and removes the entire testicle where cancer is present. Getting an appropriate prosthetic inserted after the cancer treatment surgery is also a viable option in this case.
- Testis-Sparing Surgery – The doctor targets the tumour on the testicle and leaves the testicle in place. This surgery may be done for small tumours.
- Retroperitoneal Lymph Node Dissection – It is a complicated procedure in which the doctor makes an incision in your abdomen and carefully removes the lymph nodes from the back of your belly, avoiding damage to the nearby nerves. Doctors often perform this type of cancer treatment surgery when cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.
2. Radiation treatment for cancer:
This method uses high-powered beams to kill the cancer cells on the testicles or lymph nodes. The radiation beams are used at the specific points of your body where cancer cells exist.
Radiation treatment for cancer destroys the DNA of the cancer cells preventing them from growing further. This procedure may be performed after surgery to ensure that the remaining cancer cells are killed, to prevent them from returning. However, patients may feel some side-effects of cancer treatment like nausea, fatigue, reduction in sperm count, etc., but all these go away gradually after procedure is complete.
Your doctor may also suggest performing chemotherapy after surgery to kill the remaining cancer cells and prevent it from recurring. Chemotherapy is a multi-stage procedure that uses cancer treatment drugs to kill cancer cells. These drugs are either given to patients orally or intravenously and work on the whole body, wherever testicle cancer spread has occurred.
Like radiation therapy, chemotherapy also has temporary side-effects like nausea, diarrhoea, hair loss, etc., depending on the cancer treatment drugs and the duration.
4. Chemotherapy With Stem Cell Transplant:
The drugs used in chemotherapy also sometimes kill healthy cells during the process, including those that make blood. In later stages of testicle cancer, doctors may give patients high doses of chemotherapy which may require a stem-cell transplant afterwards. In this process, doctors transplant stem cells into the patient’s vein, just like a transfusion. These stem cells then go and set in the bone marrow and develop into healthy blood cells.
Treatment Options in India According to the Stages of Testicle Cancer
The type and stage of testicle cancer play a vital role in determining a suitable treatment for it.
Stage 0 Treatment
If stage 0 testicle cancer is diagnosed after the testicle is removed through surgery, no separate treatment is required. Otherwise, doctors may recommend simple surveillance program in which the cancer is monitored regularly through scans and tests to check if it is growing.
Stage 1 Treatment
Doctors usually suggest surgery/ advanced cancer treatment options to remove the testicle. In the case of stage 1 cancer treatment in India, if its the type of cancer that spreads slowly, surveillance, and a combination of light chemotherapy and radiation therapy may be useful in treating it.
For aggressive testicle cancer spread, doctors consider chemotherapy or even surgery as a viable stage 1 testicular cancer treatment to remove lymph nodes at the back of your abdomen.
Stage 2 Testicular Cancer Treatment
In the case of stage 2 cancer treatment, your doctor may perform testicle-removal surgery followed by radiation and sometimes even chemotherapy or a lymph node dissection as part of cancer treatment depending on the size of the tumour and the spread of the tumour in your body. The same goes for cancers that aggressively spread. Your doctor will take a call on how soon and how intense the above procedures need to be carried out depending on the cancer’s behaviour.
Stage 3 Testicular Cancer Treatment
You may require a multi-drug, high dose chemotherapy in stage III testicle cancer. Doctors perform chemotherapy in both slow-spreading and aggressively spreading cancers.
In slow-spreading cancers remaining tumours do not require further surgery but may be necessary for aggressively spreading cancers to avoid relapse of testicle cancer.
– The best testicular tumour treatment will depend on the type, stage of cancer, and your overall health and preferences.
– Treatment for testicular cancer most commonly includes surveillance, surgery to remove the testicle or affected lymph nodes, chemotherapy with or without stem cell transplant, radiation therapy.
– While in stage 0, initially, surveillance may be enough, in stage I and stage II, a combination of testicle removal surgery and chemotherapy plus radiation therapy may be performed.
– In stage III, you may require a multi-drug, high dose chemotherapy along with a lymph node dissection surgery to remove any residual tumours.
Schedule an appointment with an oncologist on MFine about a treatment plan depending on your diagnosis
The cells that produce sperm are known as germ cells, and this is where 90 per cent of testicle cancer tumours develop. There are two testicle cancer types of germ cell tumours:
Seminomas type of testicle cancer grows and spreads slowly. It has two subtypes:
- Classic Seminoma – Most testicle cancers are cases of classic seminoma. These usually occur in men between 30 to 50 years of age.
- Spermatocytic Seminoma – This is a type of cancer in older males and do not tend to spread. The treatment of testicular cancer in older malesmostly includes surgery or chemotherapy, which is also discussed further in the article.
These grow and spread rapidly and may spread to other parts of the body. These usually consist of different types of cancer cells, including:
- Embryonal Carcinoma – These cells are present in about 40 per cent of the tumours. These tumours resemble that of early embryos, under a microscope. This type of testicular cancer tends to spread rapidly and is potentially aggressive.
- Yolk Sac Carcinoma – These cells resemble a yolk like sac around an embryo. If you are wondering is testicular cancer common amongst young boys, the answer is yes- this type of testicular cancer is common in children.
- Choriocarcinoma – Though it is a rare type of testicular cancer, it can grow and spread very rapidly.
- Teratoma – It resembles the layers of a developing embryo under a microscope and is an aggressive form of testicular cancer. It is best treated through surgical testicular cancer removal.
Testicular germ cell cancers may start as carcinoma of a non-invasive form. In such cases, experts most often recommend watchful waiting to rule out any possibility of cancer spreading beyond its original location.
There are some rare types of testicular cancer in Indian men, accounting for around 5 per cent of testes cancers. These types of tumours are known as stromal tumours and are often benign (harmless) but may become malignant later. They start in the hormone-producing tissues of the testicles and are also known as gonadal stromal tumours. Some examples of stromal tumours include Leydig Cell Tumour which begins in the cells that produce testosterone; and Sertoli Cell Tumour, a tumour of the cells that support the germ cells in nourishing the developing sperm. Both these tumours in these cells can be treated by surgery.
Staging of Testicular Cancer:
Doctors usually use the TNM staging tool for cancer staging to describe the extent of cancer present in the body. For testicular cancer staging, an ‘S’ is also added to the TNM tool. TNMS refers to:
- T (Tumour): It indicates the size of the tumour and whether it has spread to nearby tissues. It is denoted as pT with p implying pathological stage.
- N (Node): This helps to check if cancer has spread to the regional lymph nodes.
- M (Metastasis): This checks whether cancer has metastasised, i.e. spread to distant parts of the body like liver, lungs, brain etc.
- S (Serum tumor marker): It indicates the level of tumour marker proteins/enzymes present in the blood.
A number or letter is added to TNMS to specify the extent of cancer. Higher the number, more advanced is the spread of testicular cancer.
Stage 0 indicates that the cancer cells have not spread from the location they first formed. Cancer has neither spread to lymph nodes, distant parts of the body, nor has it been detected in the blood.
Cancer that has grown beyond its original location to some nearby tissues but not the lymph nodes or other regions of the body is a stage I testicular cancer. Stage 1 can include 3 scenarios: i) the tumour is still inside the testicle and not grown beyond it; ii) the tumour has spread outside the testicles into the nearby structures without spreading to the lymph nodes or distant body parts, and iii) the intensity of invasion to the nearby structures is higher but it still has not spread to the lymph nodes or distant body parts.
At stage II, testicular cancer may or may not have grown outside the testicle but has now invaded nearby lymph nodes. The cancer is still yet to spread to distant parts of the body. Stage 2 is more specifically identified based on three scenarios: i) Testicular cancer has spread to at least one nearby lymph node with the tumour being lesser than 2 cm in size; ii) Cancer is present in at least one nearby lymph node with the tumour being anywhere between 2 and 5 cm in size, and iii) the size of the cancer in the lymph node is more than 5cm, but it is yet to spread to other parts of the body.
Testicular cancer at stage three indicates that cancer has now spread to distant parts of the body. Scenarios under this stage may include: i) testicular cancer has spread to lymph nodes or lungs but hasn’t spread to the distant parts; ii) cancer has grown to one or more of nearby lymph nodes and not to any distant parts of the body; iii) cancer has reached distant lymph nodes or the lungs and, iv) cancer has probably spread to one lymph node or organ in parts of the body besides the lungs and lymph nodes.
Staging testicular cancer in Indian men – How is it done?
Noticing physical irregularities in the testes or any other sign or symptom that could resemble testicular cancer, it is essential to get medical attention immediately. A urologist will usually be the doctor to assess your condition by using several testing procedure such as:
External examination – Assessing relevant areas of the body such as the testicles, abdomen, the groin area for any kind of swelling or other abnormalities will be carried out by the doctor to check your risk level for testicular cancer.
Ultrasound scan – Ultrasound scans provide the doctor a clear picture of the condition of your internal organs. A sonogram of a testicle ultrasound helps the doctor identify tumours, growths or any other abnormalities inside the testicle.
CT Scan – A CT scan captures images of your internal body at different angles using x-rays that are later compiled to create a 3D image. CT scans make use of a special type of dye which is either given to the patient intravenously or made to swallow. This dye assists in providing clearer and more accurate images of the body. In testicular cancer, CT scans are often helpful to see how big or small the tumor is in the testicle.
Blood tests – Blood tests are carried out only if the above testing methods prove the appearance of a tumour in the testicle. Tumour markers are often used in this case to find out the type of cancer and its stage. Tumour markers are cancer-produced substances that can be detected in unusually high amounts in the blood of some cancer patients. There are three main tumour markers which are used to detect the stage of testicular cancer and help identify the appropriate treatment in Indian men. These are:
- Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) – It is originally a protein that is formed in a developing baby’s liver. A healthy adult usually possesses very low levels of AFP. If the body is producing high amounts of AFP, it could be a sign of liver or testicle cancer. However, high levels of AFP does not prove the evidence of cancer however when this test can assist in diagnosing and monitoring cancerous tumours when combined with other testing methods.
- Beta Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (Beta-HCG) – This is a subunit of the hormone HCG which is produced by tumor/cancer-affected tissues in the body. This is usually a serum based test which is helpful detecting germ cell tumors and other types of testicular cancers.
- Lactate Dehydrogenase (LDH) – LDH is a protein enzyme that is found in organ tissues that plays a key role in your body’s metabolism process. Damage to these tissues sparks the release of high levels of LDH directly into the blood or body fluids. Higher than usual amounts of LDH in the blood when combined with other tumour marker tests, may signify the presence of testicular cancers and that a cancer treatment may not be working.
In addition, there sometimes may be tumours that mimic the characteristics of testicular cancers. In this case, a radical inguinal orchiectomy is performed – a surgical procedure where an incision is made in the groin and the affected testicle is removed altogether for testing. Thin layers of tissues of the removed testicle are examined under a microscope. The pathologist then confirms if there are any cancer cells in the tissue sample. This procedure also helps the pathologist determine what type of cancer cells the tissue sample contains. An orhiectomy is mostly performed when results of all the previous tests provide the doctor with a high-level of suspicion of cancer. However, if a testicle is removed and the tissue samples do not contain any cancer cells, the damage to the tissue due to removal may be repairable. The replacement of the testicle in the scrotum may also be possible. However, this is a very rare instance.
– Doctors usually use the TNM (Tumour, Lymph node, Metastasise) staging tool for cancer staging to describe the extent of cancer present in the body. In testicular cancer staging ‘S’ level is also checked for serum marker level.
– At stage 0, testicular cancer has not spread from its original location.
– At stage I, cancer is only present in the testis and has not spread to nearby lymph nodes.
– At stage II, cancer starts invading the nearby lymph nodes, and at stage 3, testicular cancer spreads out to the lungs, brain, liver etc.
– The cells that produce sperm are known as germ cells where 90 per cent of the testicular cancer tumours develop. The two types of germ cell tumours are seminomas and nonseminomas.
– While seminomas type of testicular cancers grow and spread slowly, nonseminomas spread rapidly and contain more than one type of cancer cell.
– Stromal tumours start in the hormone-producing tissues of the testicles and are also known as gonadal stromal tumours. These types of tumours are rare and often benign (harmless).
– Testicular cancer can be tested by using physical body examinations, CT scans, ultrasounds, blood tests and a surgical procedure known as orchiectomy.
Consult an oncologist on MFine to understand the different stages and types of Testicular cancer
After appropriate testicular cancer treatment in India, doctors may perform regular follow-up tests for some years to ensure its successful progress, and rule out possibilities of cancer relapse. If cancer recurs after the first treatment is over, it is called recurrent testicle cancer.
It can happen if cancer hasn’t completely cured during the first treatment. Even after aggressive treatment, cancer cells can sometimes survive, and only a few of them are enough to grow and spread again.
Testicle cancer recurrence is quite common. It may return at the same place (local recurrence), nearby region (regional recurrence) or a distant area in the body (distant recurrence).
Recurrent Testicle Cancer Treatment in India
If testicle cancer somehow recurs at a later stage, treatment includes a combination of surgery and chemotherapy drugs followed by a stem cell transplant. Either four cycles of normal-dose chemotherapy drugs are administered or two to three cycles of high-dose chemotherapy.
A cancer relapse occurring after two years of treatment is best treated with testicle cancer removal surgery.
Testicle Cancer Treatment in India: Risks and Management
Treatment of tumor poses some temporary or lasting risks for an individual. The fear and anxiety towards this disease and its treatment mostly revolve around sperm count, hormone level and infertility issues post-treatment.
Most men are still fertile after the removal of one testicle during surgery. Though the removal of both the testicles is rare, if it happens, you’ll be infertile. In case bilateral surgery is the only option or if there’s infertility risk is high during advanced cancer treatment, you can go for ‘sperm banking’.
- Sperm Banking – It is normal to have a low sperm count during treatment of tumor, but there’s a risk of becoming infertile too. Sperm banking allows you to keep your sperm frozen before treatment starts, to use it at a later date when you’re ready to become a parent.
- Testosterone Replacement Therapy – Some men may face permanent hormone level issues after testicle cancer treatment in India as it can reduce the testosterone-producing ability of your body. Testosterone replacement therapy is given intravenously or topically to maintain testosterone levels in the body.
– If cancer recurs after the first treatment is over, it is called recurrent testicular cancer. It can happen if cancer hasn’t completely cured during the first treatment.
– Testicle cancer recurrence is quite common. It may return at the same place (local recurrence), nearby region (regional recurrence) or a distant area in the body (distant recurrence).
– Recurrent cancer treatment in India includes a combination of surgery and chemotherapy drugs, followed by a stem cell transplant. While there are no natural cancer treatment programs, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and diet can go a long way in ensuring good health.
– To avoid infertility and hormone-related risks associated with testicular cancer treatment, you can choose sperm banking before treatment and testosterone replacement therapy to restore hormone levels.
To get treated for testicle cancer, consult top clinical oncologists on MFine
Though testicle cancer in Indian men has a good prognosis and a cure percentage of more than 90 per cent, it is natural to feel scared about your future after diagnosis. Follow-up holistic cancer care is a significant part of testicular cancer management.
Doctors often perform regular tests and checkups for some years after the treatment is over to be sure of treatment progress, signs of cancer relapse or managing side effects of this type of cancer. You may need follow-up treatment for complications arising out of surgery or chemo or radiation therapies.
Questions about fertility and sex life after the cancer treatment might also be a concern for you. You can openly talk about it with your doctor who will suggest measures to take.
Some Post-Treatment Care Tips
- In general, you can resume your normal activities after two weeks of testicular cancer surgery but avoid any kind of exertion for about a month.
- If you’ve had an incision during the surgery, make sure it’s clean and dry to prevent any sort of infection.
- Although the exact cause of testicle cancer remains unknown, your doctor may recommend a healthy diet and exercise regime after treatment to maintain good health in general.
- Always practice good hygiene
- Avoid using products laden with chemicals and use organic, mild ingredients.
Coping and Support for Testicle Cancer
Talking candidly about your condition with your loved ones and your healthcare provider is a great way to let all your emotions out and find support. You can also try to connect with cancer organisations like the National Cancer Institute and cancer survivors support groups for additional motivation and mindful living.
– Doctors often perform regular tests and checkups for some years after the treatment is over to be sure of treatment progress, signs of cancer relapse or managing cancer treatment side effects.
– In general, you can resume your normal activities after two weeks of testicular cancer surgery, but avoid any kind of exertion for about a month.
– Some post-treatment holistic cancer care tips include, avoid activities that require exertion, keep your incision clean and dry, eat a healthy diet, exercise, avoid chemical-laden products etc.
– It is essential to be aware of your disease and the way it shall impact your body to understand and cope with it in a better way.
Ask an oncologist on MFine about a post-treatment care plan suited to your condition in just a click of a button
Q1. Is testicular cancer curable?
If you are wondering is testicular cancer curable, out of all the cancers, this type of cancer has a better prognosis with a cure percentage of more than 90 percent. In this case, the testicular cancer survival rate is quite high. However, it is crucial to get it detected and diagnosed as early as possible and seek medical help if any irregularities, pain and other symptoms were to be found.
Q2. How is testicular cancer caused?
There isn’t a definitive explanation yet as to what can cause this type of cancer. It can happen to anyone. People who may be at a higher risk for this cancer can be those with a family history of testicle cancer, or have an undescended testicle. Certain body types, ethnicities and body sizes are also risk factors for testicle cancer.
Q3. What are the symptoms of testicular cancer?
Is testicular cancer painful? The answer is, this type of cancer spread in the body may result in symptoms like pain in the lower back, abdomen, chest or head. Other prevalent signs and symptoms of testicular cancer include a lump or change in the size of the testicle, swelling or heaviness in the scrotum, fluid collection in the scrotum, etc.
Q4. What is the testicle cancer recovery time?
Recovery normally doesn’t take too long, and most patients can go back to their daily routine after two weeks of testicle cancer surgery. However, it’s important to avoid any kind of exertion for about a month, during. Emotional support is also imperative in testicular cancer treatment recovery time. Connecting with cancer organisations like the National Cancer Institute and other cancer survivors support groups can provide additional motivation and promote mindful living.
Q5. How is testicular cancer detected?
Apart from a physical examination, doctors perform tests like ultrasound scans, blood tests, surgical procedures, X-rays, CT scans etc. to diagnose testicle cancer in males. Early detection is vital in order for your chances of survival and successful treatment.
Q6. What are the most common treatment options for testicle cancer?
Treatment for testicular cancer most commonly includes surveillance, surgery to remove the testicle or affected lymph nodes, chemotherapy with or without stem cell transplant, radiation therapy. if you are wondering how serious is this type of cancer, the good news is that early detection is key to treating it successfully. The chance of dying from testicle cancer is only 1 in 5,000. In this case, the testicular cancer survival rate is quite high. While there are no natural cancer treatment programs, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and diet can go a long way in ensuring good health.
Q7. Can you prevent testicle cancer?
Since doctors don’t know what exactly causes testicle cancer, it is not possible to prevent it. If it occurs genetically, even then it is not in your hands to avoid it. Regular self-examinations of the testicles is one of the best ways to monitor the health of the organ and immediately seek medical attention if any abnormalities were to be found.
A cancer diagnosis is, indeed, one of the toughest things to come to terms with in life. Testicle cancer affects different people in different ways. It is essential to be aware of your disease and the way it shall impact your body to understand and cope with it in a better way.
Either way, the treatment options mentioned above, along with a positive mindset, are the fundamental factors that will ultimately help you win the battle over testicle cancer.
Consult the best oncologists on MFine to get started on your treatment for testicle cancer!