Donate to Testicular Cancer Research, Patient Care and Education
Testis, or testicular, cancer is a relatively uncommon cancer, accounting for one percent of cancers in men. However, testis cancers are the most common solid-organ malignancy in men under the age of 35. A donation to Northwestern Memorial Foundation will help further research to learn more about the disease and maximize the effectiveness of treatment.
The main function of the testis is to produce semen for reproductive purposes and to produce masculine hormones, including testosterone. Men who have a brother or father with testis cancer are more likely to develop cancer themselves. Most forms of testicular cancer are curable with surgery; overall, the survival rate of men with testis cancer is the highest for any non-skin cancer.
Most physicians do not perform a screening for testicular cancer, which makes self-exams particularly important for all men. Self-exams are the most common way to find testicular masses. The presence of a testis mass characterizes nearly all testis cancers; therefore, any testicular firmness should be brought to the attention of your Northwestern Medicine physician. In addition, patients may experience a dull ache as well as breast, back or neck pain, in addition to sensations of weightlessness and weakness.
The exact cause of testicular cancer is not currently known. While the cause is unknown, there are certain factors associated with testis cancer. Most cases of testis cancer occur after puberty but before the age of 40. A secondary age range of 50-60 also has an elevated risk of developing this type of cancer. Other risk factors include smoking, especially marijuana, and a family history of testicular cancer.
The diagnosis of testis cancer can only be definitively determined after the testis is removed. There are other examinations and procedures your physician will complete to understand the extent of the disease before or in addition to performing this surgery, including:
- Scrotal ultrasound: This non-invasive test determines better visualizes the firmness of the testicle.
- Blood work: Elevated levels of certain markers strongly suggest cancer, but do not necessarily mean that cancer is present.
- CT scan: A CT scan is performed only after cancer is diagnosed to access whether or not the disease has spread.
- Sperm-banking: Men undergoing testis removal are referred to a Northwestern Medicine fertility expert to examine all possible options.
Both the treatment and diagnosis of testis cancer requires the removal of the testicle by surgery. This is an outpatient procedure and generally requires an hour of anesthesia. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are treatment options as well. Your Northwestern Medicine medical team will determine the best option based on your needs.
Testicular Cancer Research, Patient Care and Education Donation
Your donation to Northwestern Memorial Foundation in support of testicular cancer will benefit further research and treatment plans. Testicular cancer affects many men, and your donation will ensure that they are getting the proper treatment and diagnosis with Northwestern Medicine.