About the disease
Testicular teratoma is a cancer which affects the germ cells, responsible for producing the sperm in the testicles. These germ cells are initial cells which appear in the testicles and later, when they develop, they turn into sperm cells. Testicular teratoma mostly affects young men age 15 to 35. This type of cancer is considered to be aggressive as it can spread fast and grow quickly. Nonetheless, if found early, it has good prognosis and patients have high chances of full recovery.
Although the exact cause of testicular teratoma has not been identified, it is believed that testicular teratoma is caused by aberration in the germ cells, which later become sperm cells. In fact, according to DoveMed, 90% of all cases of testicular teratoma has been associated with abnormalities in germ cells of the testicles. Germ cells are produced by stem cells, which among all other cells produce the sex cells. If these stem cells do not respond to the signals normally, the germ cells of the testicles may start to grow uncontrollably. As a result, testicular teratoma can develop.
There are two major types of testicular teratoma. The first one is seminoma and the second one is non-seminoma. The first type grows slowly and does not usually metastasize to other organs. The second type is more aggressive and more likely to spread if not found on time.
- Pain in the testicles
- Lump in the testicles
- Testicular swelling
- Blood in the urine
- Lack of appetite
- Pain in the scrotum
- Low blood count
- During a general examination, doctor will examine the testicles to determine if there are lumps. He will also direct a light onto the testicles. Normally, the light passes by. A doctor will also ask about a family history of a patient and determine if a patient smokes, has had infertility problems and had any signs of anemia.
- A biopsy is used to examine the germ cells under the microscope and determine if they are malignant. It also helps to determine the type of testicular teratoma.
- A genetic testing is primarily used to determine if there are genetic mutations which could have caused development of testicular teratoma.
- A blood test is used to check the blood count and also to check the testosterone levels.
- Imaging tests are used to examine the testicular teratoma in a more detailed way and determine its exact location.
- Surgical treatment is used to excise the tumor. In some cases, testicle needs to be removed as well, depending on the stage of testicular teratoma and whether or not it spreaded further.
- Chemotherapy is used to kill the malignant germ cells and prevent them from spreading.