About the disease
Testicular seminoma is one of the most common types of testicular cancer. It develops in the germ cells (which later become sex cells, namely sperm cells) that are vital for the male reproductive system. According to Radiopaedia.org, this type of cancer accounts for almost 40% of all cases of malignant testicular tumor. Also, testicular seminoma accounts for approximately 1-1.5% of all cancer cases in males. This disease is mostly seen in men aged between 30 and 45, although it can also develop in adolescents and older males.
Although the cause of testicular seminoma has not yet been identified, it seems to be linked to a gene mutation or genetic predisposition. Other factors that may play a part in the development of this disease are exposure to adverse environmental factors and infections such as HIV and orchits. Men whose testicles have not descended are also more at risk of developing testicular seminoma.
It is unlikely that testicular seminoma is caused by previous injuries to the testicles. However, such traumas can increase the risk of developing an infection, which could in turn precipitate the disease in people with a genetic predisposition or family history. This type of cancer is not considered to be aggressive, as it will rarely metastasize and does not spread quickly.
- Pain in the testicles
- Pain in the back
- Lump in the testicle
- Blood in the sperm
- Grey nodules in the area of the testicles
- During a general examination, the doctor will check the testicles for a lump or nodules and to make sure their color is normal.
- The patient will also be asked about their family history and whether or not there have been previous infections or traumas that could have caused similar symptoms.
- An ultrasound of the testicles can determine whether there are any strange masses present. It can determine whether the blood flow to the testicles is normal. (In some cases, similar symptoms can be caused by restricted blood flow to the area.)
- Other imaging tests are performed to find out the exact location and size of the tumor.
- A biopsy is performed to examine the patient’s testicular germ cells under the microscope, to find out if they are malignant.
- Blood and sperm tests can rule out the possibility of an infection.
- Chemotherapy and radiotherapy shrinks the tumor and kills malignant cells so that they do not spread any further.
- Surgical resection of the tumor may be required if the above treatments did not destroy the cancer completely.
- In advanced stages, the affected testicle may need to be removed as well, to prevent testicular seminoma from spreading to the other testicle.
- If the treatment is effective, and as long as the remaining testicle is healthy, the patient’s ability to have children in the future will be unaffected.