National Cancer Institute
Posted Date: Jul 12, 2007
Screening for cancer is examination (or testing) of people for early signs of a certain type of cancer even though they have no symptoms. Scientists have studied patterns of cancer in the population to learn which people are more likely to get certain types of cancer. They have also studied what things around us and what things we do in our lives may cause cancer. This information helps doctors recommend who should be screened for certain types of cancer, what types of screening tests people should have, and how often these tests should be done. Not all screening tests are helpful, and most have risks such as bleeding, infection, or pain of the testicle or groin due to a biopsy for an abnormal screening test. For this reason, scientists at the National Cancer Institute are studying many screening tests to find out how useful they are.
If your doctor suggests certain cancer screening tests as part of your health care plan, this does not mean he or she thinks you have cancer. Screening tests are done when you have no symptoms. Since decisions about screening can be difficult, you may want to discuss them with your doctor and ask questions about the potential benefits and risks of screening tests and whether they have been proven to decrease the risk of dying from cancer.
If you have signs or symptoms of cancer, your doctor will order certain tests to see whether you have cancer. These are called diagnostic tests.
- Give information on testicular cancer and what makes it more likely to occur (risk factors).
- Describe testicular cancer screening methods.
- Give current evidence about the effectiveness of screening tests.
You can talk to your doctor or health care professional about cancer screening and whether it would be likely to help you.
The testicles are male sex glands involved in the production of sperm. They are located behind the penis in a pouch of skin called the scrotum. The testicles are the body's main source of male hormones.
Testicular cancer is rare. Despite a slow increase in the number of new cases, the number of deaths due to testicular cancer has decreased dramatically since the 1960s as a result of treatment improvements.
Anything that increases a person's chance of developing a disease is called a risk factor. Some risk factors for testicular cancer are as follows:
Age: Young men have a higher risk of testicular cancer. In men, testicular cancer is the most common cancer between the ages of 20 to 34, the second most common cancer between the ages of 35 to 39, and the third most common cancer between the ages of 15 to 19.
Family History: Men with a family history of testicular cancer may have an increased risk of developing testicular cancer.
Personal History: Men with undescended testicles have a higher-than-average risk of developing testicular cancer. Men who have already had testicular cancer have a higher risk of developing a tumor in the other testicle. There is an increased risk of second cancers for at least 35 years after treatment for testicular cancer.
Race: Testicular cancer is more common among white men than black men. Hispanic, American Indian, and Asian men develop testicular cancer at a higher rate than black men, but less than white men.
Most testicular cancers are first detected by the patient, either unintentionally or by self-examination. Some are discovered by routine physical examination. However, no studies have been done to determine whether self-examination or examination during routine physicals can help reduce the number of deaths caused by testicular cancer.
Editorial changes were made to this summary.
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