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Blood Test For Testicular Cancer

How To Prevent Testicular Cancer

KLHL11 test: First test to detect autoimmune disease associated with testicular cancer

There is no way to prevent testicular cancer because of the absence of any factor related to testicular cancer. However, early detection results in a better prognosis and increases the chances of survival. Doctors know how to diagnose testicular cancer at an early stage, provided the patient should visit them for diagnosis.

Rohit Jain is an IPR Specialist and Medical Content Writing Expert. For over a decade, he has written several articles in the areas of female infertility, Erectile dysfunction, hemangioma, cervical cancer, monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance, mononucleosis, mitral valve disorder, nerve sheath tumor, shin splints, mild cognitive impairment, cellulitis, brain metastases, atelectasis, MCAD deficiency, lymphoma, sepsis, cardiac rehabilitation and metabolic disorder among others.

Symptoms Of Testicular Cancer

The most common symptom is a lump or swelling in a testicle, or a dull ache, pain, or heaviness in the scrotum.

If the cancer has spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body it may cause other symptoms.

We have more information about testicular cancer symptoms.

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From puberty onwards, it is important to check your testicles regularly. It is usually possible to cure testicular cancer but it is easier to treat when it is diagnosed early.

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Blood Tests For Testicular Cancer

Blood tests can check for proteins called tumour markers . These help diagnose testicular cancer and monitor how well treatment works.

You might also have blood tests to:

  • check your general health including how well your liver and kidneys are working
  • check numbers of red cells, white cells and platelets in your blood

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Testicular Cancer Tumor Markers

Testicular cancer is one of the few cancers associated with tumor markers. It is not clear why testicular cancers release these markers. Most testis cancers that secrete tumor markers are nonseminomatous germ cell tumors , and 85 percent of NSGCT will secrete at least one tumor marker. These cancers often develop from the germ cells in the testis that have the potential to transform into a variety of cell types. It is hypothesized that as these germ cells turn into cancer cells, they turn on genes and secrete proteins usually only released during fetal development.

Despite the lack of understanding as to the cause of elevated tumor markers, these markers are well established to help in the diagnosis, prognosis, treatment and monitoring of testis cancer. However, many patients and their families are confused about where tumor markers come from, what an elevation in a level means and how markers should change over time. There are three important tumor markers for testicular cancer:

  • Alpha-fetoprotein

Normal range: < 40 micrograms/LHalf life: 5 to 7 days

AFP is a protein secreted by the fetal yolk sac, liver and gastrointestinal tract and appears in high levels in the blood of the fetus. AFP can be secreted by NSGCT that contain embryonal carcinoma, yolk sac tumor or teratoma. By definition, seminoma or choriocarcinoma do not secrete AFP. Therefore any patient with an elevated AFP must have a nonseminomatous component of testis cancer.

Surgery To Diagnose Testicular Cancer

Movember 2020

Most types of cancer are diagnosed by removing a small piece of the tumor and looking at it under a microscope for cancer cells. This is known as a biopsy. But a biopsy is rarely done for a testicular tumor because it might risk spreading the cancer. The doctor can often get a good idea of whether it’s testicular cancer based on the ultrasound and blood tumor marker tests, so instead of a biopsy the doctor will very likely recommend surgery to remove the tumor as soon as possible.

The entire testicle is sent to the lab, where a pathologist looks at pieces of the tumor with a microscope. If cancer cells are found, the pathologist sends back a report describing the type and extent of the cancer.

In very rare cases, when a diagnosis of testicular cancer is uncertain, the doctor may biopsy the testicle before removing it. This is done in the operating room. The surgeon makes a cut above the pubic area, takes the testicle out of the scrotum, and examines it without cutting the spermatic cord. If a suspicious area is seen, a piece of it is removed and looked at right away by the pathologist. If cancer is found, the testicle and spermatic cord are then removed. If the tissue is not cancer, the testicle can often be returned to the scrotum.

If testicular cancer is found, your doctor will order imaging testsof other parts of your body to check for spread outside the testicle. These tests may also be done before the diagnosis is confirmed by surgery.

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How Testicular Cancer Is Diagnosed

Rony Kampalath, MD, is a board-certified diagnostic radiologist specializing in imaging of the abdomen.

Diagnosing testicular cancer usually involves an ultrasound to visualize the testicles and blood tests to determine whether tumor markers are present. If cancer is strongly suspected, a surgery known as a radical inguinal orchiectomy may be performed to remove the tumor and the affected testicle and send it to a lab for analysis.

Other imaging tests and labs can help determine whether cancer is present and if it has spread beyond the initial tumor site.

This article reviews how testicular cancer is diagnosed through self-exams, imaging, labs and tests, and procedures. It also discusses cancer staging and differential diagnoses.

After A Diagnosis Of Testicular Cancer

After finding out you have testicular cancer, you may feel shocked, confused, anxious or upset. These are normal reactions and a diagnosis of testicular cancer affects everyone in different ways.

It can be difficult to decide what type of treatment to have. Understanding the disease, the treatments available and possible side effects can help you weigh up your options. You may also want to talk to your doctor about how treatment for testicular cancer may affect your fertility.

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Blood Tests For Tumor Markers

Some blood tests can help diagnose testicular tumors. Many testicular cancers make high levels of certain proteins called tumor markers, such as alpha-fetoprotein and human chorionic gonadotropin . When these tumor markers are in the blood, it suggests that there’s a testicular tumor.

Rises in levels of AFP or HCG can also help doctors tell which type of testicular cancer it might be.

  • Non-seminomas often raise AFP and/or HCG levels.
  • Pure seminomas occasionally raise HCG levels but never AFP levels.

This means any increase in AFP is a sign that the tumor has a non-seminoma component. Sertoli and Leydig cell tumors don’t make these substances. It’s important to note that some cancers are too small to elevate tumor markers levels.

A testicular tumor might also increase the levels of an enzyme called lactate dehydrogenase. A high LDH level often indicates widespread disease. But, LDH levels can also be increased with some non-cancerous conditions.

Tumor marker tests sometimes are also used for other reasons, such as to help estimate how much cancer is present to see how well treatment is working, or to look for signs the cancer might have come back.

Signs & Symptoms Of Testicular Cancer

Could pregnancy tests determine if men have testicular cancer?

If you notice a lump, pain or anything unusual in a testicle, you should see your Mercy doctor as soon as possible. As with any cancer, the sooner you catch it the better your chances of successful treatment.

Symptoms of testicular cancer include:

  • Swelling or a hard lump in one of your testicles
  • A sudden change in how your testicle looks or feels
  • Pain or discomfort in a testicle or the scrotum
  • Fluid build-up or a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
  • An achy feeling in your groin area
  • Breast swelling or tenderness

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Physician Exams For Detecting Testicular Cancer

There are several tests that your doctor may perform to detect the presence of testicular cancer. These are typically done if a man notices symptoms or finds a lump or has pain in his testicle. It can also be done if the doctor finds anything unusual in the testicles. These tests may include:

  • A physical examination
  • Your doctor will feel around your testicles and scrotum
  • They’ll also feel around your abdomen
  • This procedure is intended to provide the opportunity to locate abnormalities, swelling, and tenderness
  • Your doctor may also check your lymph nodes
  • An ultrasound of your testicles
  • This will provide a picture of your internal organs
  • Your physician will be able to detect any obvious lumps or tumors
  • An ultrasound wand will be placed against your scrotum and abdomen to look for visual abnormalities
  • A blood test to look for tumor markers
  • Testicular Cancer Support & Resources

    At Mercy, we understand that cancer affects not only the body, but also the mind. Thats why we offer more than just medical treatment for our cancer patients. We have resources that include alternative treatments and spiritual support to help you come to terms with your diagnosis, and support you through your recovery.

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    What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Testicular Cancer

    The most common sign of testicular cancer is a painless lump in your testicle. Other symptoms include:

    • Swelling or sudden fluid build-up in your scrotum.
    • A lump or swelling in either testicle.
    • A feeling of heaviness in your scrotum.
    • Dull ache in your groin or lower abdomen.
    • Pain or discomfort in your scrotum or a testicle.
    • A shrinking testicle .

    These symptoms can occur with other conditions, too, so dont panic if you notice them. Still, schedule a visit with your provider to be sure. Delays in diagnosis allow cancer cells time to spread, making the disease harder to treat.

    How Is Testicular Cancer Diagnosed

    Movember 2020

    Your provider may diagnose testicular cancer after investigating a lump or other change in your testicle you found during a self-exam. Sometimes testicular cancer gets diagnosed during a routine physical exam.

    Common procedures and tests to help diagnose testicular cancer include:

    • A physical exam and history: Your provider will ask about your symptoms and examine you closely to check for signs of testicular cancer. They may feel your testicles for lumps and inspect your lymph nodes for signs of cancer spread.
    • Ultrasound: If your provider notices an abnormality during the exam, theyll likely order an ultrasound. An ultrasound is a painless medical procedure that uses high-energy sound waves to create pictures of tissue inside your body.
    • Inguinal orchiectomy and biopsy: If the ultrasound shows evidence of cancer, your provider will remove the affected testicle through an incision in your groin. A specialist will examine tissue from your testicle using a microscope to check for cancer cells.

    Other tests may include:

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    Cancer That Has Come Back

    Testicular cancer that has come back may be found during a physical exam, through an imaging test, or as a result of increasing tumor marker levels. In some cases, recurrent cancer can be successfully treated. This is especially true if the cancer has spread only to the lymph nodes in the pelvis, belly, or lower back and pelvis.

    Recurrent testicular cancer may be treated with chemotherapy, surgery to remove lymph nodes, or radiation. Chemotherapy may be followed by surgery to remove any remaining cancer.

    How Is It Treated

    For some men, surgery to remove the testicle may be all the treatment they need. The type and stage of your cancer will help your doctor know if you need more treatment.

    Treatment after surgery may include surveillance, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy. Chemotherapy is often used for cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. In some cases, surgery is used to remove that kind of cancer.

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    What Are The Treatments For Testicular Cancer

    Treatment depends on several factors, including your health, treatment preferences, cancer stage, and tumor type. Seminomas tend to grow more slowly and respond better to radiation therapy than non-seminomas. Both kinds of testicular cancer tumors respond well to chemotherapy treatments.

    If testicular cancer involves both seminoma and non-seminoma tumors, your provider will treat it as a non-seminoma.

    Surgery

    Surgery to remove the cancerous testicle is the most common treatment for testicular cancer, regardless of cancer stage or tumor type. In some cases, your provider may also remove your lymph nodes.

    • Radical inguinal orchiectomy: Your provider may perform orchiectomy to treat both seminoma and non-seminoma testicular cancers. During the procedure, your provider will make an incision into your groin to remove the testicle with the tumor. Theyll also close off blood vessels and lymphatic tissue to prevent the spread of cancer from the tumor site to the rest of your body.
    • Retroperitoneal lymph node dissection : Your provider may perform retroperitoneal lymph node dissection depending on your cancers stage and the tumor type. RPLND is more common with non-seminoma testicular cancers. During the procedure, your provider makes an incision into your abdomen and removes the lymph nodes behind your abdominal organs. RPLND may be used to treat cancer and may also be used for cancer staging.

    Radiation therapy

    Chemotherapy

    Testicular Cancer Blood Test

    Testicular Cancer: Signs, Symptoms and Self-Exams

    Your doctor may also ask you to get a blood test before your next appointment. This checks for something called âtumor markersâ in your blood. If tumor markers are increased in your blood, it could be a hint that thereâs a testicular tumor.

    While these numbers will be pretty meaningless to you, your doctor will be able to use them to get a good indication of whatâs going on.

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    Testicular Cancer Test Types Causes Diagnosis And Treatment

    Testicular cancer is the cancer of testicles. Testicular cancer test is of various types. There is no known cause, but certain factors can increase the risk of its occurrence. Pain in the abdomen and fullness or heaviness in the scrotum are few signs of testicular cancer. Diagnosis includes imaging methods, blood testing, and biopsy. For early detection, the patient should visit doctors who know how to test for testicular cancer. Treatment includes surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.

    Treatment For Testicular Cancer

    Following are the treatment options for testicular cancer

    1. Monitoring

    Routine monitoring is advised in the case of Stage 0 and sometimes in Stage 1 of testicular cancer. If the size of the lump increases or the level of hormones changes, treatment may be offered.

    2. Surgery

    Retroperitoneal lymph node dissection , Orchiectomy, and Testis-sparing surgery are various surgical procedures provided to patients suffering from testicular cancer. These are provided based on the condition of the patient.

    3. Chemotherapy

    Chemotherapy is generally provided when cancer spreads to other organs. Chemotherapy may be combined with surgery or radiotherapy.

    4. Radiation Therapy

    Surgeons use high-energy radiations to kill cancerous cells.

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    Prostate And Testicular Cancer Screenings

    If prostate and testicular cancer are detected early, they are highly treatable. Thats why we consider routine screenings for these diseases an important part of your preventive health plan.

    At the Henry Ford Mens Health Center, our urologists follow the latest recommendations for testicular and prostate cancer screenings. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure whether you need these screenings. Well discuss the tests you may need and help you schedule them.

    What Causes Testicular Cancer

    How Testicular Cancer Is Diagnosed

    The exact cause of testicular cancer is unknown. Some factors increase the risk of testicular cancer, such as

    • Age: Testicular cancer usually occurs between the age of 20 to 35 years.
    • Undescended testes : Surgical correction of undescended testes before puberty reduces the risk of testicular cancer.
    • Genetic conditions, such as Klinefelter syndrome, cause abnormal development of the testes
    • Family history of testicular cancer
    • Surgery: A suspicious mass on ultrasonography is often directed taken on the operation table for removal.
    • Orchiectomy: Removal of the testicle. A prosthetic can be placed.
    • Testes-sparing surgery : The tumor is carefully removed, and the healthy part is left behind. This is ideal for patients with small tumors, benign, or noncancerous tumors.
    • Retroperitoneal lymph node dissection: Surgical removal of the lymph nodes to which the cancer has or may spread.
  • Radiation therapy: This therapy targets cancerous cells, selectively kills them and shrinks tumors using radiation.
  • Chemotherapy: The tumor cells are killed with cancer medication.
  • Targeted therapy: This treatment uses medication to target certain genetic proteins or other changes in and around cancer cells.
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    Diagnosis Of Testicular Cancer

    Diagnosis is the process of finding out the cause of a health problem. Diagnosing testicular cancer usually begins with a visit to your family doctor. Your doctor will ask you about any symptoms you have and do a physical exam. Based on this information, your doctor may refer you to a specialist or order tests to check for testicular cancer or other health problems.

    The process of diagnosis may seem long and frustrating. Its normal to worry, but try to remember that other health conditions can cause similar symptoms as testicular cancer. Its important for the healthcare team to rule out other reasons for a health problem before making a diagnosis of testicular cancer.

    The following tests are usually used to rule out or diagnose testicular cancer. Many of the same tests used to diagnose cancer are used to find out the stage . Your doctor may also order other tests to check your general health and to help plan your treatment.

    What Increases Your Risk

    Some things may increase your chances of getting testicular cancer. These risk factors include:

    Most men who get testicular cancer don’t have any known risk factors.

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