Testicular cancer is usually diagnosed when the patients finds a lump on the body of the testicle. It is very important that patients get used to performing regular testicular self examination . It is important to differentiate between lumps associated with the epididymis, the tube like structure that lies on top of and behind the testicle, and lumps on the body of the testicle. Lumps on the epididymis are rarely serious, and are most commonly areas of inflammation or cysts. All lumps of the body of the testicle need urgent assessment, to rule out the possibility of a testicular tumour.
If you find a lump on or around your testicle you must let your GP know right away, so that it can be properly assessed.
Investigation of patients with lumps on or around the testicle is usually with an ultrasound scan. This allows clear visualisation of the testicle and the surrounding structures, and is painless. There are other more common causes of lumps in the scrotum, which include a hydrocoele and an epididymal cyst.
It is important to get used to how your testicles feel, and we recommend that you perform regular testicular self examination. To learn about how to do this, please click here.
If a testicular cancer if found on ultrasound, the testicle will need to be removed. Prior to this, some blood tests will be taken, and you will also need to have a CT scan done. This will see if there is evidence that the tumour has spread beyond the testicle. Prior to the operation to remove the testicle, you will also be asked if you would like to have your sperm banked. If so, this will be arranged.
The operation is done under a general anaesthetic, through an incision is made in the groin. The testicle is removed through this incision. You will be asked before the operation if you want to have a prosthesis inserted at the time of you operation, and if so then this will be done.
For more information about the operation, a radical orchidetomy, please click here.
Following surgical removal of the testicle, the pathologist will determine under the microscope what type of tumour is present. You will then be seen by an oncologist who will decide if any further treatment such as chemotherapy is required.
The vast majority of testicular tumours are curable.
For more information on testicular cancer, see the following links:
Cancer Research UK: testicular cancer
Macmillan cancer backup information on testicular cancer
Orchid: Orchid exists to save men’s lives from testicular, prostate and penile cancers through pioneering research and promoting awareness