Although its incidence is increasing, testicular cancer affects less than 10 men in 100 000 with a 2% risk of developing cancer in the other testis within 15 years of initial diagnosis. Survival rate is very high if diagnosed and treated early, according to Dr Nico Lourens from The Urology Hospital, Pretoria.
Testicular cancer is an abnormal growth or tumour in one or both testes and symptoms include a lump in the testis, testicular pain and discomfort in the groin or scotum. Males over 14 should self-examine their testicles monthly and if a lump is detected, they should urgently see a urologist, said Dr Lourens.
“There are multiple reasons that may be behind a testicular lump and it is important to remember that not all lumps are necessarily cancerous. Your urologist will do a clinical assessment and an ultrasound is one of the tools we use to identify whether a lump is malignant or not.
“Often, cancerous lumps are not painful, which is why patients do not seek help at the outset. It is vital that the patient consults a urologist as soon as a lump is detected,” he added.
Research in Italy found that treatment is so effective that 95% of patients record a five years disease-free survival rate. Researches added that genetic, environmental and hormonal risk factors play a role in its development and risk of recurrence.
For example, having a brother or father with a history of testicular cancer increases the risk of the disease by up to 10-fold, while exposure to chemical pollutants with endocrine disrupting activity may impact on susceptibility to the disease.
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About The Urology Hospital, Pretoria
The Urology Hospital, Pretoria, is the only urology centre of excellence in Africa. With more than 20 urologists under one roof, using the latest in highly specialised technology as well as specialised urology trained nursing staff, it offers unparalleled expertise in its field. In addition, the hospital maintains its association with the academic world to ensure ongoing research, medical education and training and development in the field of urology.
The hospital prides itself on being at the forefront of technology. It was the first hospital in South Africa to perform robotic surgery, implement a robotic pharmacy picking system and now has one of only a handful of 3D laparoscopic surgical units in South Africa. The hospital has undergone major renovations and now offers 127 beds and seven theatres.
The Urology Hospital not only cares about patients and staff, but also for the community, undertaking numerous Corporate Social Investment initiatives throughout the year. The hospital and staff work together to assist selected charities, including donations to The Clothing Bank, uniforms for Sunnyside Primary School and stationery for Balebogeng Primary School.