Testicular germ cell cancer

It originates in the sperm-producing cells and generally presents as a painless mass, sometimes associated with dull and persistent pain. It is the most common cancer in males, though it is still rare as it accounts for 2% of all tumors in men. Most have a good prognosis, even in advanced stages with dissemination, although it will depend on the type and extent.

The exact cause or causes of testicular cancer are unknown, but several factors have been identified that increase the risk.

Cryptorchidism or undescended testicles before birth, after their formation in the abdominal area during fetal development, carry a higher risk of testicular cancer. Even if the testicle has been surgically repositioned in the scrotum, the risk remains elevated. Additionally, conditions that cause the testicles to develop abnormally, such as Klinefelter syndrome, among others, can also increase the risk.

Similarly, HIV infection or its clinical form of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) also slightly increases the risk of developing seminoma-type germ cell testicular cancer. Other infections such as human papillomavirus (HPV), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), cytomegalovirus (CMV), or parvovirus B-19 have also been associated with a higher risk of this cancer.

Other risk factors include exposure to certain chemicals or tobacco use.

Finally, race also influences the risk, with white men being more likely to develop this type of cancer than African Americans and Asian Americans.

Symptoms

Testicular cancer is most frequently diagnosed between the ages of 18-45 but can occur at any age. Generally, the first signs consist of the enlargement of a testicle or a small lump or area of hardness, while other symptoms usually appear when there is dissemination to other areas. Broadly speaking, the symptoms of testicular cancer can include:

  • Lump or enlargement in either testicle.
  • A change in the shape of the testicle or a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum.
  • Pain, discomfort, or numbness in a testicle or the scrotum, with or without swelling.
  • Dull ache in the lower abdomen or groin.
  • Sudden accumulation of fluid in the scrotum.
  • Tenderness or enlargement of the breasts.

Prevention

There is no way to prevent testicular cancer. As with the prevention of all diseases, one should maintain a healthy and active lifestyle, quit smoking, follow a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and engage in regular physical exercise. The possibility of performing regular self-examinations of the testicles has also been suggested; however, the most advisable course of action is to attend regular medical check-ups established for each age.

Number of observed variants

13.5 million variants

Number of risk loci

39 loci

Genes analyzed

ATF7IP BAK1 BMERB1 CDKL2 CENPE CNOT2 DAZL DMRT1 FBXO34 HNF1B KATNA1 KITLG L2G LZTR1 MAD1L1 MCM3AP NEIL2 NLRP12 PDE8A PIK3CD PKNOX2 PRDM14 RESF1 RFWD3 RPL4 SEPTIN4 SLC25A44 SMARCAD1 SPRY4 SSR3 SUGCT TERT TYMS UCK2 UQCRFS1 ZFP42 ZFP64 ZFPM1 ZNF638 ZNF726

Bibliography

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