Testicular Cancer: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects
Last Updated: Sep 30, 2023
What is the treatment?
Testicles or testes are male reproductive organs found in the human body that are contained within a pouch like structure called the Scrotum which is an extension of the abdominal wall. An adult human testicle is about 2 inches long. The testicles produce sperm cells and testosterone in the human body.
Testicular cancer is a disease that develops in the testicles. Certain symptoms like lump in the testicle, or swelling and pain, low back pain in the scrotum indicate that a person may be suffering from this disease. Sudden collection of fluid in the scrotum is another symptom of this disease. There are various causes for the occurrence of testicular cancer like undescended testicles or cryptorchidism, inguinal hernia, mumps orchitis, epididymitis, varicocele, haematocele, prostatitis, cystitis, nephritis, benign tumours of the testicles, or Klinefelter syndrome. Lifestyle that doesn’t involve too much physical activity or early appearance of male characteristics in a child is also associated with testicular cancer.
Types of cancer are germ cell tumours which are classified into seminomas and non-seminomas. Sex-cord stromal tumours, Teratoma, Yolk sack tumour, Trophoblastic tumours and lymphomas are other types of testicular cancer.
The primary method of measuring testicular cancer is diagnosing a lump inside the testes. Also, if a young adult has one enlarged testes, painful or not is definitely having symptoms of this disease and should consult a doctor. Any lump found in the testes is treated with scrotal ultrasound, and the extent of the cancer is located by CT scans. There is differential diagnosis that is used to treat testicular cancer. Also, blood tests are used to determine tumours.
How is the treatment done?
The most common way of treatment is removal of the affected testes which is known as orchiectomy. Here, the one good testis is left for the purpose of reproduction, and affected one is operated.
At the stage one of this cancer, surgery may be done on the para-aortic lymph nodes to determine in which stage the cancer is and to reduce the risk of the spreading of cancer to the lymph nodes from the malignant testicles, which usually happens at the later stages of this particular cancer. This surgery is known as retroperitoneal lymph node dissection.
Also, patients opt for adjuvant treatment which is a form of chemotherapy which kills the cancer cells residing outside the affected testicle. In case the cancer has not spread too further, patients are also asked to carry out blood tests and CT scans.
Radiation therapy is used to treat stage2 cancers. For non-seminoma cancer, chemotherapy is mainly used in higher levels of the disease, and three to four rounds of chemotherapy is provided, as required by the patient. The type of chemotherapy that is provided to the testicular cancer patients are Bleomycin-Etoposide-Cisplatin (BEP). Also, Etoposide-Cisplatin (EP) is effective to treat this cancer. In the case of seminoma cancer, two doses of carboplatin, provided after three weeks is also recommended.
Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation is the transplantation of multipotent hematopoietic stem cells derived from bone marrow, umbilical cord blood or peripheral blood. This treatment is also used to cure testicular cancer.
Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)
No such eligibility is there for the treatment of testicular cancer. It is to be noted that any male, who is having symptoms of this disease, irrespective of their age, social background and economic constraints should consult a doctor so that the disease can be diagnosed as quickly as possible so as to check the spread of it in other parts of the body.
Who is not eligible for the treatment?
A person who is not suffering from any of the symptoms of testicular cancer is not eligible for treatment and no consultation of doctors is required. He is perfectly fit in this matter.
Are there any side effects?
There are no such side effects of the various treatment methods that are being used, except for the fact that the heavy chemotherapy and radiotherapy that are provided to the affected people may have a tendency to sterilise them. If both the testicles are removed in this procedure, then there is definitely no chance of him to reproduce any further. However, sperm banks are always available from where healthy and cancer free sperm is always readily available.
What are the post-treatment guidelines?
After the treatment has been completed, regular blood tests, CT scans and X-rays are to be performed. In certain cases, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is also performed. The tests that are required to be executed, depend on the level of risk and the stage of cancer the patient has been diagnosed with and the chances of the cancer to return.
How long does it take to recover?
The time of recovery varies according to the stage at which the cancer is being treated and also on the method of treatment. If chemotherapy is provided at regular intervals then it is obvious that it would take a longer time than removal of the affected testicle. Also, the amount of post treatment surveillance differs from one patient to another. In many cases, chances of the cancer to come back are very high. In that case, complete recovery takes a lot of time and care. Regular tests should be performed in order to check the health conditions.
What is the price of the treatment in India?
The price of treatment of testicular cancer in India is as high as up to 30 lakhs rupees in certain hospitals. In others, the cost varies around 4 lakhs rupees as well.
Are the results of the treatment permanent?
The results of treatment are not always permanent in the case of testicular cancer treatment. The treatment provided for some people may have a very good impact, while for others, the case may be different – the disease might return. The black males have a greater tendency to suffer from this disease than the Europeans and Asians, therefore the treatments will affect the Blacks differently from the others. Also, there are certain side effects that will not affect every patient in the same way. So, it is pretty hard to say whether everyone will get the same results, after the treatment has been provided.
What are the alternatives to the treatment?
There are no alternative treatments to testicular cancer. However there are various ways to prevent it from entering the body. There are certain anti-carcinogenic diet food like vegetables and herbs that act as alternatives to cancer treatment. Also, proper sleep and regular physical exercise can help to prevent cancer in the testicles.
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