What are testicles?
These are egg-shaped glands enclosed in a sac called the scrotum, located just beneath the penis. The testicles are where sperm mature and where testosterone and other hormones are produced. In ejaculation, sperm travels from a tube called the epididymis through the vas deferens and to the seminal vesicles. Sperm then mixes with fluid from the vesicles and prostate gland to form semen, which in turn moves through the urethra where urine also exits.
What types of testicular cancer are there?
The different types of cells in the testes dictate the type of cancer that forms and it is important to know what type you have in order to administer the right treatment and determine your outlook. Majority of cancers begin in germ cells, which are those cells that form sperm.
Germ cell types
- Seminomas – increases blood levels of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), which serves as a tumor marker and can be used to monitor one’s response to treatment
- Classical: occurs in 95% of men between 25 to 45 years old
- Spermatocytic: occurs in older men around 65 years old and is less likely to spread to other organs
- Embryonal carcinoma: spreads outside the testicles
- Yolk sac carcinoma: most common in children, especially babies
- Choriocarcinoma: pure choriocarcinomas can spread to lungs, bones and brain, among others
- Mature: formed by cells similar to adult tissue cells
- Immature: resembles cells like that of an early embryo and can invade nearby tissues
- Teratoma with somatic type malignancy: but has cancer cells growing outside the testicles, such as a sarcoma, adenocarcinoma or leukemia
Carcinoma in situ of the testicle
These types start out as non-invasive cancers and are difficult to detect since they do not form testicular cancer lumps or symptoms. These are diagnosable only via a biopsy.