Seminoma: testicular cancer

A seminoma is a form of testicular cancer. This form of testicular cancer is the most common. Non-seminoma is less common. Most patients are between 15 and 30 years old. Although testicular cancer is not common, it is a type of cancer that mainly affects young men. The man himself has a number of symptoms, most of which are visible changes in the testicle. The treatment is aimed at healing, because if detected early the chance of survival is very high.

What is a seminoma?

Cancer is called neoplasm malignum in Latin. A carcinoma is a form of cancer that arises from epithelial cells. A seminoma is a form of cancer that arises from the testicles in men. The germ cells are usually the source of the development of this type of cancer. There are two types of testicular cancer: seminoma and non-seminoma. Seminoma is the most common form and will therefore be discussed here.

Who gets it?

Testicular cancer logically only occurs in men. Young men between the ages of 15 and 45 are particularly at risk. Testicular cancer occurs in approximately 650 men every year. This may not seem like much, but it is a significant growth compared to previous years. it is unclear why this is the case. Cannabis use appears to play a role. There has been more use of cannabis in recent years, but recording these figures has also become much more accurate in recent years. It cannot therefore be said whether the increase is actually due to increased consumption. Other risk factors include a family history of testicular cancer, an undescended testicle or a testicle that has shrunk.

Symptoms

The man often notices that the testicle has suddenly become enlarged and changes shape. A swollen area can also develop and often a hardening. In some cases this hardening is also painful. Sometimes there are no clear symptoms, but the man suffers from other symptoms. These often arise when there are metastases. Fatigue and/or shortness of breath or pain in the back, bones, lungs or elsewhere where the metastasis is located may occur. It is important that men regularly check their testicles for abnormalities. Young men in particular should do this.

Stage 1

Occurs in 70 percent of all cases. If detected early, it is usually stage 1. No metastases have been found. However, some patients will always have very small metastases, this is the case with every type of cancer. Small metastases are often difficult to observe or discover. A tumor is usually only visible from half to 1 cubic centimeter. Testicular cancer is very sensitive to radiation. Irradiation is therefore almost always used at this stage.
Stage 2
Occurs in 25 percent of cases. In the second stage, metastases have been found to the surrounding tissues. The metastases have not spread outside the abdominal cavity. The treatment consists of radiation. In addition, chemotherapy is sometimes used. This is a series of medications that aim to shrink or destroy cancer cells. Sometimes the lymph nodes need to be removed.

Stage 3

Occurs in 4 percent of cases. At stage 3 there are metastases that can be found in the lymph nodes, in the abdominal cavity but also outside. The metastases are not yet in organs outside the abdominal cavity because the lymph nodes stop the first metastatic tumor cells. Treatment consists of radiation, chemotherapy and removal of the testicle.

Stage 4

Is discovered in 1 percent of cases. In the final stage, metastases can be found in organs outside the abdominal cavity, for example in the lungs, kidneys, bones or liver. Metastatic testicular cancer in the lungs, for example, is not called lung cancer but metastatic testicular cancer in the lungs. This distinction must be made because metastases behave differently than cancer that originated in the organ itself. At this stage, treatment is mainly aimed at prolonging life: chemotherapy will often be used in addition to removing the testicle and irradiating the metastases. At this stage the chance of recovery is virtually nil.

Survival rate

Testicular cancer is often discovered in stage 1 or 2. The survival rate is over 90 percent. This means that 95 percent of all patients are still alive after five years. Patients who are disease-free for two years have a very small risk of the cancer coming back. In stages 3 and 4, the chances of survival become much smaller. The figures are averages: this depends on the size of the tumor, the fact that ODF metastases are present and at what stage the cancer is discovered. That is why it is so important that manes regularly check the testicles themselves by rolling them between the fingers. This makes irregularities more noticeable. If you notice this, see a doctor. There is no need for shame here. Often the cause is completely different, such as fluid retention. The doctor can then send the man to the hospital for a minor procedure. If in doubt, the doctor will always refer you for further examination.

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