The testicles are the male reproductive glands that produce sperm and testosterone. Testicular cancer occurs when malignant cells develop in the tissue of one or both of these glands.
Approximately 7,000-8,000 new cases of testicular cancer are diagnosed in the United States each year, mainly affecting males in the 20-35 age group.
Stages of Testicular Cancer
Unlike many other forms of cancer, the size of the malignant mass has no bearing on the stage of cancer. Each general stage is further divided into sub-categories identified with a letter.
- Stage 0 (carcinoma in situ): Abnormal cells are identifiedin the tubules where sperm cells form. These cells may or may not develop into cancer.
- Stage I: Abnormal cells have developed into a malignant tumor. At this stage, the mass remains in the testis.
- Stage II: The cancer has metastasized from the testes to the lymph nodes below the diaphragm. In stage IIA, the cancer can also be anywhere in the testicle(s), spermatic cord, or scrotum. In advanced stage II, the cancer can be anywhere in the testicle(s), spermatic cord, or scrotum, as well as spreading to up to 5 lymph nodes in the abdomen, none of which are larger than 5 centimeters.
- Stage III: In this stage, the cancer may have spread to additional lymph nodes in the abdomen. In late Stage III, the cancer may also affect other lymph nodes or the lungs. In some cases, it has not affected the lymph nodes but has spread to other parts of the body.
Testicular cancer is one of the most treatable forms of the illness, regardless of the stage. Nearly 90% of patients have responded well to treatment, with approximately 85% of those patients being completely cured. Overall, statistics boast a 90% cure rate for isolated cases, and 80% of metastatic cases.