The testicles are two egg-shaped glands that sit in the scrotum. They are part of the male reproductive system. Their main functions include making sperm, and testosterone.
Sometimes cells in the testicles change or stop growing altogether. Some benign changes of testicular cells include development of teratomas and benign sex cord stromal tumors. Sometimes Testicular cells become precancerous. Intratubular germ cell neopasia, unclassified (IGCNU) is the most common precancerous testicular condition.
The most common types of testicular cancers are germ cell tumors which make sperm.
Other types of testicular cancer are rare and include non-Hodgkin lymphoma of the testis, and sex cord stromal tumors.
Causes & Symptoms of Testicular Cancer
The last several decades has seen an increase in the incidence of cases of testicular cancer. Most testicular cancer cases are seen in men between the ages of 15 and 29. Caucasian men have a higher risk factor for testicular cancer than men of Asian or African descent.
Risk factors for Testicular Cancer include:
• undescended testicle
• family history of testicular cancer
• calcium deposits in the testicles
• tall height
Other possible risk factors include:
• problems with fertility
• early puberty
• pesticide exposure
• HIV or AIDS
Some of the following symptoms can be caused by things other than testicular cancer, so it is important to visit your physician for a proper diagnosis.
Symptoms of Testicular Cancer include:
• testicular mass or lump, usually painless
• mild pain in scrotum or lower abdomen
• enlarged lymph nodes
• shortness of breath
• weight loss
Who Gets Testicular Cancer
Men with a higher risk of developing testicular cancer include men between the ages of 14 and 29.
Prognosis if You Have Testicular Cancer
Most testicular cancers have a positive response to treatments and have very good outcomes. The earlier the diagnosis and treatment, the better the outcome.
5 Year Survival Rates for Testicular Cancer:
- Localized — 99 percent
- Regional — 96 percent
- Distant — 74 percent
Prognosis can depend on several different factors including:
• type of germ cell tumor
• stage of cancer
• treatment response
Conventional medicine’s main types of treatment for testicular cancers include:
• active surveillance
• clinical trials
How to Prevent Testicular Cancer
There is very little you can do to prevent testicular cancer. That said, eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables can go a long way in helping to lower your risk. Maintain a healthy weight by being active and eating a healthy diet: vegetables; fruits; whole-grain bread, pasta, and cereals; fish; poultry; and beans. Also, you should limit animal protein, processed meat, and a diet high in fat.
Immune System Health
A healthy immune system remains your body's best defense. Not only is a weak immune system a major reason patients have cancer — and cancer itself can further weaken the immune system.
Beta glucans help regulate the immune system, making it more efficient. In addition, beta glucans stimulate white blood cells (lymphocytes) that bind to tumors or viruses and release chemicals to destroy it.
Beta Glucan has been approved in Japan, Australia, South Korea, and Taiwan as an immunoadjuvant therapy for cancer. In fact, helping with cancer is just the beginning with Beta Glucan. There have thousands of studies showing the product can protect against infections, lower your cholesterol, lower blood sugar, reduce stress, increase your antibody production, heal wounds, help radiation burns, overcome mercury-induced immunosuppression (like Thimerosal, used as a preservative in vaccines), help with diabetes, and even naturally prevent metastasisThe spread of cancer cells from the place where they first formed to another part of the body. In metastasis, cancer cells break away from the original (primary) tumor, travel through the blood or lymph system, and form a new tumor in other organs or tissues of the body. The new, metastatic tumor is the same type of cancer as the primary tumor. For example, if breast cancer spreads to the lung, the cancer cells in the lung are breast cancer cells, not lung cancer cells. (or the spreading of your cancer).
Harvard Medical School suggests following general good-health guidelines is the single best step you can take toward keeping your immune system strong and healthy:
• Don't smoke.
• Eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and low in saturated fatA type of fat with certain chemical properties that is usually solid at room temperature. Most saturated fats come from animal food products, but some plant oils, such as palm and coconut oil, also contain high levels. Eating saturated fat increases the level of cholesterol in the blood and the risk of heart disease..
• Exercise regularly.
• Maintain a healthy weight.
• Control your blood pressure.
• If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
• Get adequate sleep.
• Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.
• Get regular medical screening tests for people in your age group and risk category.
More Information: Building the Immune System
Your diet plays a role in a healthy immune system. The top vitamins your immune system needs to perform include:
• Vitamin C — helps to repair and regenerate tissues and aids in the absorption of iron
• Vitamin E — a powerful antioxidant that helps your body fight off infection
• Vitamin B6 — supports adrenal function and is necessary for key metabolic processes
• Vitamin A — aids immune function and helps provide a barrier against infections
• Vitamin D — modulates cell growth, promotes neuromuscular and immune function, and reduces inflammation
• Folate — key in development of red blood cells (a lack of Folate can make the body susceptible to cancer)
• Iron — helps your body carry oxygen to cells
• Selenium — slows the body's overactive responses to certain aggressive forms of cancer
• Zinc — slows the immune response and control inflammation in your body
Sources: American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute, Cancer Research Society